Travel Tips to Avoid Flight Delays and Missed Connections, via @TravelLatte.net

Travel Tips to Avoid Flight Delays and Missed Connections

We don’t like them, but flight delays are a part of travel life. That’s why we’ve made these travel tips to avoid flight delays and missed connections are part of our travel day routine.

Did you know that, every year, about 20% of flights get delayed. At that rate, if you fly just once every two months, you’re pretty likely to suffer a dreaded flight delay. That’s bad enough, but if you have a connecting flight, your trouble doesn’t end there. That delay can make you late for your connection, with a ripple effect lasting the rest of your travel day. The good news is that you can lower your risk factor with our…

Travel Tips to Avoid Flight Delays and Missed Connections

Keep in mind, when Mother Nature decides you’re not going to fly today, there is very little you, the airline, or even the FAA can do about it. During Hurricane / Tornado / Snowmageddon Season, airlines frequently cancel flights proactively instead of suffering endless flight delays. Of course, flight delays can happen anytime, fair weather or foul. In fact, many times the weather is not involved at all.

When reporting their on-time performance to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (Yes, it’s a thing!), airlines also report the reason for any delays. There are five categories for delays: Extreme Weather (such as a hurricane); Security; Air Carrier (meaning it’s their own dang fault); Late Arriving Aircraft; and, National Aviation System (basically “everything else”).

So how can you avoid flight delays and missed connections that inevitably follow? Let’s start with first things first.

Photo of flight schedule showing a delayed flight - Travel Tips to Avoid Flight Delays and Missed Connections on TravelLatte

Book the First Flight of the Day

You’re right, nobody likes getting to the airport before the sun comes up. But you know which flight is almost guaranteed to leave on time? The first one. Many flights are delayed because the plane is late coming from wherever it’s coming from. The later in the day you fly, the better the odds of that plane being late. And if it’s a connecting flight, that means even more trouble.

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Turns out, even Mother Nature may prefer sleeping in. According to the Bureau, the best time to fly is between 6am and 7am local time. In general, though, flights that take off before 9am have the best records for on-time arrivals. That’s because most of the bad weather that can delay a flight happens as the atmosphere warms up later in the day.

Fun Fact: Only about 4% of flight delays reported by the major airlines are due to extreme weather. However, nearly 46% of all delays attributed to the National Aviation System are weather related. That number is probably much higher; when airlines report a delay due to arriving aircraft, it is not noted whether that flight was delayed by weather.

Book Direct Flights

This one is just basic odds-making: The more flights you take in a day, the greater the odds of getting delayed. When you book a direct flight, you only get on one airplane that day, so you know you won’t meet a flight delay along the way. As a bonus, direct flights typically get you to your destination faster. Unfortunately, they can sometimes be more expensive and, being popular choices, more crowded.

Of course, most airlines have a hub-and-spoke flight map, meaning direct flights are mostly between their big hub cities. You need a connecting flight (or two…or three) to get to your final destination. Which leads to our next travel tip to avoid flight delays:

Allow Enough Time Between Flights

We’ve said it before: Avoid short layovers! You can’t be blamed if the flight you took from Point A was late, and made you miss the connecting flight to Point B. It happens but, when it does, the airline will get you back in the air as soon as possible. However…

You can reduce the chances of getting delayed by allowing at least an hour between connecting flights. Keep in mind, flight searches are designed to get you from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. The list of flight options almost always starts with the quickest trip. And most airlines will let you book connecting flights with just 30 minutes between them, but that’s tempting fate. Sure, you might make that connection, but there’s no room for error. One little flight delay and that quick trip now takes all day.

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How Do You Do It?

What are your favorite techniques and travel tips to avoid flight delays and missed connections? Please do share them in the comments. We’ll re-post the best tips, so be sure to include your Twitter handle, if you have one. Then click for more #Travel140!

2 comments on “Travel Tips to Avoid Flight Delays and Missed Connections

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