The helpful information we all needed sooner.
“So, for those of you who don’t know, I work for an airline, and the past couple of days have been absolutely insane. I think yesterday Southwest canceled 500, JetBlue 200, American — like 350. So, I’ve got a couple of tips if you guys are flying in the next couple of days. If your flight is delayed or canceled, always google ‘Bill of Rights’ with the airline name. It’ll let you know what your rights are as a customer and what kind of compensation you would get for being on the tarmac for an hour — or maybe you’ve been in the airport for five hours — what you get for that,” she says in her TikTok.
“Download the airline app that you’re using. You’ll probably get up-to-date airline notifications more than the airline employees. So, for cancelation, and you book through a third party, like Expedia, Priceline, or a travel agent, usually the airline will roll you over to the next available flight. Now, if there is a delay and you miss a connecting flight, you need to call who you booked through. If you need to talk to somebody, always call who you booked through — trust me. I don’t want you waiting on hold for five and a half hours and they’re like, ‘Sorry, there’s nothing we can do; you booked it through Expedia.'”
“So this one is a little complicated, but Flightaware.com. It tells you where your plane is at – in the sky. Is it on its way? Is it not on its way? And then there’s a little thing underneath it that says, ‘Where is my plane now?’ Then you can kind of gauge — am I going to be delayed today? Is it already delayed, and it’s only the morning and my flight is tonight? It kind of helps you gauge where you’re at.”
Natalie also told us that no airline is “the best” when it comes to flying. However, she did say your destination may play a part in whether or not you experience travel issues. “No airline is exempt from complications brought on by weather, mechanical, and/or staffing issues. But, in general, if you’re flying out of a smaller airport, there will be fewer flight options for delayed or canceled passengers to be rolled over to, so sticking to larger airports is typically a safer bet. Also, the weather always plays a factor, so flying to or from places like Florida or the Caribbean during hurricane season is always a risk, just like flying to or from places like Chicago or any extremely cold climate during the winter is a risk.”
When it comes to booking flights through third-party companies, like Expedia, Natalie said they’re not bad because you can get great bundled vacation packages, but she did share a few cons. “Sometimes the third-party site lacks communication between the airline. For instance, seat assignments booked through these sites may not have transferred into the airline’s system. Also, flight changes/delays may not be communicated to the passenger, as it would be if the flight was booked directly through the airline. The biggest con is that if there is ever an interruption in your flight schedule, the airline’s hands are tied. All changes have to be made through the third-party site, which can be quite an inconvenience,” she said.
“Overall, my top three travel tips are: 1) Always fly direct if possible. Fewer connections = less opportunity for mishaps. 2) Try to take the first flight out of the day. It’s the least likely to be delayed or canceled. 3) The last two-plus years have been extremely difficult for the travel industry, so please be kind to the airline employees and your fellow passengers.”
And airport delays and cancelations are just as annoying to airport staff as they are to you. “We get stuck working a 12- to16-hour day when we were supposed to only work a 6- to 8-hour day. So, next time your flight is delayed or canceled, be nice to the airline employees. They want your flight to be on time just as much as you do. We honestly feel TERRIBLE when we see passengers missing vacations, weddings, funerals, honeymoons, etc. due to a delayed or canceled flight, and we wish there was more we could do to help,” she concluded.