U.S. markets closed
  • S&P 500

    4,280.15
    +72.88 (+1.73%)
     
  • Dow 30

    33,761.05
    +424.38 (+1.27%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    13,047.19
    +267.27 (+2.09%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    2,016.62
    +41.36 (+2.09%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    91.88
    -2.46 (-2.61%)
     
  • Gold

    1,818.90
    +11.70 (+0.65%)
     
  • Silver

    20.83
    +0.49 (+2.39%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.0257
    -0.0068 (-0.66%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    2.8490
    -0.0390 (-1.35%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.2139
    -0.0064 (-0.52%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    133.4800
    +0.4810 (+0.36%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    24,477.79
    +432.12 (+1.80%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    574.64
    +3.36 (+0.59%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,500.89
    +34.98 (+0.47%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    28,546.98
    +727.65 (+2.62%)
     
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Airline travelers ‘should be prepared for disruptions’ for July 4 weekend: The Points Guy founder

In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Points Guy Founder Brian Kelly joins Yahoo Finance Live to check out airline delays ahead of this holiday weekend, protecting trips from cancellations, and the busiest points of U.S. and European travel.

Video Transcript

RACHELLE AKUFFO: The rush of crowds at US airports set a pandemic record ahead of the July 4th weekend. To help you keep your sanity and protect your travel plans, here's our guest, Brian Kelly, the Points Guy founder and CEO. So Brian, good to have you back on. What should people be preparing for during this travel rush?

BRIAN KELLY: Well, people should be prepared for disruptions. And it's pretty much every airline. Yesterday, Delta canceled 7% of their flights. Today, it's American Airlines with 8% of their flights canceled. So what we're seeing is going into this busy holiday travel weekend, the airlines still don't have their footing.

So I highly recommend, track your flight, not just on your airline's app, but use flightaware.com. They actually have a flight tracking tool and a Misery Map. And it'll show you where the largest cancelations and delays are happening. So if you're flying out of that airport, you've got to be playing the proactive game. And when your flight starts getting delayed, look for other options and rebook yourself before those seats disappear.

DAVE BRIGGS: That Misery Map has got to be awfully busy, spread out entire-- across the entire country. Primarily, what are the drivers of these cancelations? We've heard about pilot shortages. We're starting to hear about air traffic control issues, also TSA as well. But what's the primary driver? Do you think it gets worse before it gets better?

BRIAN KELLY: Absolutely, because it's not even just pilots. It's the people who bring the jet bridge to the plane. I mean, I waited two hours a couple of weeks ago at JFK once we landed just to get off the plane. So there's just severe staff shortages. And you can't hire those people off the street and expect them to work next week, right? There's so much training that goes in. So staffing shortages, we're still in COVID outbreaks. People are calling out. And the biggest driver is demand. People still want to travel. And as long as that demand is high and airplanes are full, we're going to continue to see these disruptions.

SEANA SMITH: So, Brian, what do you do if your flight is canceled? Because not long ago, Dave's flight was actually canceled. I don't think he knew what to do in that instance. So what are some of the tips that you can give people out there who find themselves in a similar situation?

BRIAN KELLY: So basically, you're on your own. You may wait in line or try to wait hours on the phone. The airline is probably not going to be able to rebook you. So if you really need to get to where you're going, immediately pull out your phone and buy yourself a different ticket. Use your frequent flyer miles. Go to Google Flights. I use a site called Expert Flyer that shows me how many tickets are for sale on flights. All of these things are critical because flights are packed.

So if you're going to wait in line for two hours at the airport to be rebooked, chances are any of those remaining seats will be snatched up. If your airline does cancel or delay your flight a lot, you are owed a full refund. But if you wait for your airline to rebook you, you're going to be out. And also, people should know that airlines don't owe you anything in the US if they cancel your flight. In the EU, it is different. There's EU 261 regulations. So if you're canceled or delayed on a European carrier, do that.

But go to your credit card company, Amex Platinum, Chase Sapphire. They have what's called trip delay and cancelation coverage. So if you're disrupted, the airlines are broke. Go to your credit card company to get reimbursed for those hotels and rental cars and all those extra expenses.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: That really does make you think twice before you hit that Add Protection box when you're trying to book your flight. So in terms of what you can do beforehand, whether it's getting the travel insurance or booking directly through the airline versus, say, going through an Expedia or something else, what's the best way to try and protect your travel?

BRIAN KELLY: So book directly through the airline. If you booked through Expedia and others, they're going to pass you around, and no one's going to take responsibility. Also, always decline that coverage to protect your trip. It's crappy coverage. Go to insuremytrip.com, which is an independent, where you can look at all the different policies. And you're going to get much better coverage at a cheaper price.

I also recommend people, if you're checking bags, there's been meltdowns at baggage claims across the world. 20,000 bags at Heathrow. Put an Apple Airtag in your luggage so you can track it in real-time. So many of my followers have done this. And when the airline says we don't know where your bag is, you can show them your phone and be like, actually, it's exactly here. And you're going to go get it for me now, please. Always be nice.

DAVE BRIGGS: It's in Seattle. I'm in San Diego. You got this one wrong. Are there certain destinations, are there certain airlines you say we should avoid?

BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, absolutely. Well, traveling through Europe, try to avoid Dublin airport, Amsterdam, London, and even Paris. Switzerland's amazing. Connecting through Iceland's pretty good. And then in terms of the US, it really-- it's no one airport. But certainly, when summer thunderstorms hit the South, you know, Dallas and Atlanta. Even try not to connect through New York. If you're on the West Coast, always try to fly nonstop as much as possible.

SEANA SMITH: Hey, Brian, does it matter if you used points to book a flight or if you used your credit card, just in terms of maybe being the first to get bumped off an overbooked flight or if your flight was canceled, like we've been talking about?

BRIAN KELLY: So it doesn't matter how you paid for it. Your Elite status does matter, though. So if you are a frequent flyer, generally, those travelers are not the ones bumped off for oversells. But what we're seeing this summer is not an oversell situation. It's literally just cancelations due to staffing shortages. And there's-- that-- those mess everyone up. Even if you're a Diamond Elite, you're still going to get disrupted.

But what I say is this, actually. If you have a flight booked, say you need to get to a wedding, a graduation, somewhere you really have to go to, book a secondary ticket using your frequent flyer miles. In most cases, most airlines let you cancel those tickets free of charge up until departure. So say your first flight's canceled, you've got a backup reservation. If your first flight goes out on time, you can cancel your mileage ticket and get all those miles and fees back so it gives you that extra level of, if you really need to get somewhere.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: And in terms of timing out the best deals, a lot of, what day should I book? What's the best time? How do you get the best deal? How do you be smart about it?

BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, there's no one best day. I recommend use big data. So Hopper and Google Flights are both sites that'll tell you if the fare is a good price. These days, if it's even a mediocre price, I say go for it, because travel keeps going up and up, especially as Asia opens up this fall. The demand just continues to grow. And I don't see that stopping unless big recession hits us and we start seeing layoffs. So, in general, book now. Waiting to book, you're not even going to be hit with high fares. You're going to be hit with sold out flights, which we're seeing in so many markets.