More of us are leaving home for Christmas.
In 2017, we broke a record. Over 107 million American travelers took a car, train, or plane last Christmas, with journeys over 50 miles. That’s the largest number of holiday travelers ever, according to AAA. Motor Advocacy groups said that a stable economy and cheap plane tickets pushed more of us to spend.
This year, that increase will likely continue. As a result, more traffic jams and travel hiccups will occur. Holiday travelers must also deal with other seasonal factors like weather-related airport delays and bad-timed colds. All of these “What If’s?” can add up to a lot of stress, due to the uncertainty of not getting to our destination on time. Find out which airports to avoid, especially during the holidays so your trip is a success.
While travel problems are unpredictable, we can find ways to better cope.
Choose Airports Wisely
Some airlines and airports simply have poor on-time performance track records. Here’s a list of those major airports to avoid that tend to report a higher percentage of flight cancellations.
Airports to Avoid During the Holidays
- LGA New York, NY: LaGuardia (WORST)
- ORF Norfolk, VA: Norfolk International
- CHS Charleston, SC: Charleston AFB/International
- ROC Rochester, NY: Greater Rochester International
- PHL Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia International
- EWR Newark, NJ: Newark Liberty International
- PVD Providence, RI: Theodore Francis Green State
- DCA Washington, DC: Ronald Reagan Washington National
- BUF Buffalo, NY: Buffalo Niagara International
- JFK New York, NY: John F. Kennedy International
While you may not be able to avoid traveling through these cancelation-prone airports, you can consider doing the following:
- Book flights with earlier departures. Those scheduled after 4pm are more likely to be delayed or canceled.
- Book flights that fly directly to your destination. Connecting flights may be cheaper, but you’ll increase the likelihood of travel hiccups and adding stops at “airports to avoid”.
- Come up with a contingency plan in the event your flight is canceled. Could you rent a car and drive? Are there other flights scheduled for later in the day?
- Remember to save all documents. If your flight is delayed or canceled, your travel insurance company will require documentation in the event you file a claim.
Download Travel Apps
Travel apps can help make your journey a bit easier. Here are a few apps to download:
- Hopper — finds the lowest price airfare.
- Waze — gives driving direction, alternate routes to avoid traffic.
- Airline — for easy access to boarding passes, and real-time updates.
- TripAdvisor — find accommodations, read reviews.
- Avis — book a car rental on the fly. When you get to the lot, find the vehicle by flashing the car’s lights.
Consider Travel Insurance
Passengers with departing flights at busier airports are more likely to utilize a travel delay benefit this holiday season, and may want to compare travel insurance policies with better delay protection.
Travel delay benefits vary with each travel insurance provider, generally between a 5 and 24-hour window. The benefit is designed to provide reimbursement for reasonable meals and accommodations while unable to travel.
Tip: Travelers must be delayed for a certain number of hours before this benefit can be applied. When comparing travel insurance, look for the minimum delay time (typically, starting at 5 hours) to start qualifying for coverage as soon as possible.
For those concerned about a delayed flight adversely affecting a cruise or tour departure, travelers may also want to ensure a missed connection benefit is included under a selected comprehensive travel insurance plan. This benefit is designed to provide travelers with coverage if a delayed flight (for example, of 3 hours or more) causes a traveler to miss a cruise departure.
In addition to travel delay benefits, travelers can also use data to help compare the following benefits available under comprehensive travel insurance plans:
- Trip Cancellation
- Trip Interruption
- Baggage Delay
- Cancel For Any Reason
Comprehensive travel insurance provides a variety of benefits including medical coverage, emergency travel services, baggage protection, and trip cancellation and interruption coverage.
Try To Relax
Easier said than done, but with a record number of us expect to travel this holiday — it’s a good reminder that travel hiccups can happen. While we can’t control every situation, we can use the latest technology, data, and insurance to help us better cope.