holiday travel

Travel Experts Urge Travelers to Book Early and ‘Pack Patience' This Holiday Season

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With recent images of airports filled with stranded passengers still fresh on travelers' minds, the travel industry is warning those flying this holiday season to be prepared.

"Some of the local airline executives have come out and said that they are prepared for the holidays, that they don't expect the cancellations and delays that consumers experienced over the summer. But certainly, consumers should still be prepared for changes, delays or possible cancellations,” said AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster.

Late this week, Southwest Airlines announced it would further reduce end-of-year flights with December's capacity just 92% of what it was pre-pandemic.

It's a continuation of a year filled with disrupted travel for tens of thousands of passengers across multiple airlines.

"People are really concerned,” said owner of Vincent Vacations Lia Vincent.

From their Dallas office, Vincent said agents are encouraging customers to pad their trips with an extra day or two, especially those flying for specific plans like catching a cruise.

She also recommends checking flight status days in advance, saying some cancellations are announced up to four days out.

"We like to say, pack the patience. I mean, it's just kind of a unique time, so some things are unavoidable or you just can't predict,” said Vincent.

In addition to working with a travel advisor who can help should things go awry, AAA recommends travel insurance and booking end-of-year flights now.

Armbruster said that means locking down Thanksgiving travel before Halloween.

“There are fewer flights that are going to be available for the holidays, so it's important to book as early as possible not only to save money but just to make sure you have a seat,” said Armbruster.

But though these may be unprecedented times, Armbruster reminds airline delays are nothing new. He echoed Vincent’s sentiment to remember patience and flexibility this holiday season.

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