This summer, traveling by air comes with more than the usual helping of grief. Getting through that grief may not involve the usual seven stages, but there are a few givens: You’ll need to weather the sharp rise in airfares and, if your flight is delayed or canceled, you’ll need to work through your anger to deal with your airline. (Keep in mind that more than twice as many U.S. flights were canceled this June compared to last, according to airline tracking site FlightAware.) We asked experts for nuggets of wisdom and strategies that can help you avoid key stressors or, at least, ease the path to acceptance.
Timing Is (Almost) Everything Wendy Schoneberger spent 31 years as an air-traffic controller, making sure that travelers got where they were going safely. Since starting Solo to Group Travel, a vacation-planning service, in 2012, she’s turned her focus to making sure travelers have fun. Her time in the tower still influences the advice she gives them. She recommends taking flights as early in the day as possible, pointing out that the aircraft for those crack-of-dawn departures usually come in the night before, so, “even if [a plane] is delayed by eight hours, it doesn’t matter.” But flying early in the week can make a difference, too. Controllers with the lowest seniority tend to work Friday and Saturday nights, she said. While she emphasizes that that has no impact on safety, “experience and efficiency likely go hand in hand when it comes to finding solutions to issues,” from approving different routes to opening extra positions.