Travel expert offers tips for holiday air travel

If your flight gets cancelled this year, experts recommend travelers call the airline directly
holiday travel PBIA 12222023
Posted at 4:13 PM, Dec 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-22 17:28:30-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Travel experts are offering some advice for travelers ahead of the holiday weekend.

“Traveling is a lot of waiting, is what I’ve realized, and the worst part about it is the airport,” Londell White told WPTV.

White and his significant other flew out of Palm Beach International Airport on Thursday. They are heading home for the holidays.

“Be prepared to wait. Be prepared to wait. Our flight doesn’t leave until 6, so we’ll be here for a while,” White told WPTV on Thursday morning.

This weekend is shaping up to be a lot calmer than this time last year when Southwest Airlines melted down with thousands of flights cancelled and millions of passengers stranded for days following the Christmas holiday.

Londell White traveling from PBIA 122223
Londell White talks about how spending most of your time at the airport when traveling.

“It was 16,900 flights that were cancelled. They got fined $140 million,” Pete Trabucco, a travel, vacation and aviation expert, told WPTV.

Trabucco called it unprecedented.

If your flight gets cancelled this year, Trabucco recommends travelers avoid going to the ticket counter and instead, pull out their phones right away.

“I recommend actually calling the airline direct," Trabucco said. "So, while you are online trying to get your flight changed, it’s best to actually call the airline directly, because by the time you get to the front, most of the flights will probably be gone.”

Under federal law, airlines are required to rebook your flight or give you a full cash refund if the other available flights don’t work with your schedule.

That gives travelers a chance to find a flight on another airline, avoiding the last resort of driving to your destination.

“It only takes two hours and 45 minutes, which is way better than a 17-hour drive,” White said.