5 Ways to Avoid Delays if Sequestration Threatens Flights

So far, the airlines are showing few signs of cutting flights this summer, which is great for vacationers – but trouble still looms in the form of sequestration cuts.

Listen as Rick Seaney schools editor Anne McDermott on the fine art of zipping through airports:

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Sequestration Delays, Cancelations

Sequestration budget cuts could mean TSA  security cutbacks or furloughed air traffic control personnel, which could in turn impact busy airports with delays and flight cancelations.

While the government is somewhat like the weather – meaning, much of it’s outside your control – there are steps to take to insure your trip is as smooth as possible.

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5 Ways to Avoid the Worst of Sequestration Delays

Saving a vacation or any travel is all about getting timely and accurate information. Here’s how to do just that:

1. Set airline alerts: Checking flight arrival and departure times isn’t just for the people picking you up. If your airline has an alert system to let you know about changes, sign up (and do this as soon as you book your flight.

2. Check your tickets online: Some people are shocked to discover their airline tickets can and do change with little notice, and this includes changes from non-stops to connecting flights, and even a change in destination. It’s rare, but it happens, and if you’re not paying attention you may miss this information. Tip: Every couple of weeks, check your reservations. If you notice any changes or are contacted about any flight differences, don’t delay – call your carrier immediately.

3. Set special alerts: Set up Google alerts (very easy) on sequestration news; use keywords like FAA and TSA (and toss in your departure/arrival cities to customize this further). For return trips on international flights, you’d be smart to set alerts for ICE or ‘immigration and customs’ and also CPB for ‘customs and border protection’ and so on.

4. Monitor delay-specific sites: The FlightStats Delay Tracker lets you follow “today” problems as well as anticipated “tomorrow” delays as well.

5. Fly the less popular days: Not only will you save money by traveling on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday – the cheapest days to fly – but you’ll be less likely to feel the impact of any longer-than-usual security lines or possibly other delays. If that’s not possible, be sure and check TSA security wait lines – which is good advice for all travelers, any time (that link also takes you to other useful security information designed to save you time).


Published: April 2, 2013