How to Handle International Air Travel in 2022
Air travel is crazy right now. Plagued by long delays, cancellations, lost luggage, missed connections, and under staffed airports. Below we have outlined the airports and airlines currently experiencing the most problems, and then we have provided the best tips and tricks to help you navigate this stressful time for air travel if you plan to hop on a flight soon.
If you are traveling to or through Europe, lets take a look at the airports and airlines currently experiencing the most delays and cancellations:
As you can see, Amsterdam is far and away the most unstable airport to travel through right now. If you can avoid this airport, or some of the others that are high on this list, try to do so when booking your reservations.
Now lets take a look at the European airlines experiencing the most cancellations by percentage:
Air France / KLM - 5.3% cancellation rate
EasyJet - 4.7% cancellation rate
British Airways - 3.6% cancellation rate
Lufthansa - 3.5% cancellation rate
Another IMPORTANT NOTE: SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) will be a particularly troublesome airline to travel on as they are currently filing for bankruptcy and are estimated to be cancelling up to 49% of their flights.
Now lets take a look a the North American statistics, as many travelers will be making a domestic connection on their way to Europe:
North American airports with the most delays and disruptions currently (30 mins or more) source: airnav.radarbox:
Lester B Pearson Int Airport (Toronto) - 7,370 delays in the last month
Dallas Fort Worth Int Airport - 5,981 delays in the last month
New York JFK - 5,815 delays in the last month
Chicago O'Hare - 5,678 delays in the last month
Atlanta Int Airport - 5,511 delays in the last month
North American carriers with the most cancellations and delays by percentage source: airnav.raderbox:
American Airlines - 4.7% cancelation rate / 28% delay rate
Delta Airlines - 3% cancellation rate / 20% delay rate
United Airlines - 2.7% cancellation rate / 22% delay rate
Southwest Airlines - 0.91% cancelation rate / 29% delay rate
Here are our top travel tips and recommendation if you are traveling soon:
If you have an international connection, make sure it is no less than 2 hours long. This will give you more time to deal with airport hold ups, flight delays, and custom delays, and more time for your luggage to make your next flight. Even if your connection is domestic, we highly recommend a connection that is no less than 90 minutes.
If you are checking luggage, make sure you have some essentials in your carry-on such as toiletries, a change of underwear and clothes, important medications, and necessary electronics and chargers in case of lost luggage during transit.
Speaking of lost luggage, this is becoming a prevalent issue because of delays and staff shortages around the world, so we highly recommend investing in an Apple Air Tag or similar product. You can throw one of these in your checked suitcase and then have the ability to track exactly where it is anywhere in the world through your phone. In this way, you don't have to rely only on airport baggage staff for updates on your bag's whereabouts. Also make sure to take a photo of your luggage!
Flight Bookings and Airport Tips
This may be obvious, but fly non-stop if possible. This automatically removes the stress and issues that may result from flight connections. If a non-stop flight to your destination is not available, try not to book more than one connection, and try to have your connection be domestic instead of in Europe.
Book morning flights and avoid weekend travel.
Travelers tend to encounter less airport and airline delays in the morning and during weekdays. Also, Tuesday and Wednesday tend to be the least crowded days to travel through airports.
Check in on-line when possible. This helps you avoid lines at airports and can expedite the time you spend getting to your gate.
Do you have TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry?
These programs are worth investing in. They expedite your airport security process and give you peace of mind when arriving at the airport. Many travel credit cards come with TSA Pre-Check as a perk for signing up.
Download your airlines mobile app
For the most up-to-date and quick updates on your flight, make sure you have your airlines mobile app. They send you notifications in the event of a delay, gate change, or cancellation, and are often quicker and more reliable than the airport notification system.
Invest in travel insurance that covers delays and disruptions in case of any issues while traveling.
Know your rights to compensation:
In the US, if you get bumped from your flight, you are entitled to US flight compensation at least equal to 200% of your one-way fare.
The European Regulation EC261 is legislation that requires airlines to compensate passengers in the event of:
Flight delays that are 3 hours or more