(WHNT) – Flight cancellations made headlines through the tail end of the holiday season.
According to the travel tracking website, Flight Aware, more than 1,500 flights were canceled Tuesday that were flying within, into, or out of the US.
AAA travel spokesperson Clay Ingram says flyers are dealing with unprecedented travel woes.
“There have been travel hiccups over the years, but this is really unusual. The first time we’ve seen this pandemic-related kind of stuff and it just has that ripple effect where it changes just all aspects of travel,” Ingram said.
Ingram says passengers could have to continue to brace for travel turbulence fueled by the pandemic.
“I think there’s a good chance it will be a lingering issue. It’s sort of a wait-and-see proposition. Our numbers are up with COVID cases recently. If they continue to go up that’s going to affect travel going forward. It’s going to change a lot of the travel guidelines and safety procedures,” Ingram said.
Having a flight canceled is a headache, but Ingram says flyers are entitled to a refund in certain circumstances.
“If the airline decides to cancel it and it’s not a weather situation, then typically, you’ll get a refund,” Ingram said.
The US Department of Transportation has a list of circumstances where an airline is required to reimburse passengers.
Is there a way to avoid a cancellation all together? That’s not an easy question to answer. But Ingram says choosing a larger airport for a connection or departure might help lessen the inconvenience of a canceled flight.
“They might have a bigger selection of flights to get you to that same destination or some other connecting, layover type flights to get you there eventually. Typically, the bigger airports are going to have more options,” Ingram explained.
Ingram encourages flyers to get frequent updates from their airline about their travel plans and to contact them directly if a flight is canceled. He also says it would be a good idea to consider purchasing travel insurance or even soliciting the help of a travel agent.