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2018 Hits Record Flight Delays: How Airlines and Passengers Can Improve Travel in 2019

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Fireworks 2019

NEW YORK – AirHelp, the world’s leading air passenger rights company, found that 2018 was the worst year to fly for travelers due to over-tourism, delays and poor quality of service from many airlines internationally. An average of 2,400 U.S. travelers experienced flight disruptions every day this year, so it is up to both airlines and travelers to resolve to create better travel experiences in the New Year.

What are the main causes of flight disruptions?

While weather is frequently to blame, along with pilot shortages and other issues, over-tourism is one of the most prevalent causes of disruptions, and with an influx of tourists in 2018, airlines and travelers can help prepare to eliminate turbulent experiences at the airport by taking several different elements into consideration for 2019.

How can airlines and airports help to minimize disruptions?

Overbooked flights due to over-tourism cause travel disruptions, but airlines can help to decrease these issues by reducing the number of oversold seats per flight. Airlines can also use larger aircrafts for popular flights during peak seasons to increase the number of seats available per route, all without adding extra flights.

Even in situations where disruptions are unavoidable, airlines are obligated to be transparent in their communications with travelers, and not only about the status of their flights, but also about their rights when disruptions occur.

“As airlines work to improve, travelers can also take many steps to have the best experiences possible when traveling next year,” comments Henrik Zillmer, CEO of AirHelp. In the United States, we found that almost half of all air passengers believe airlines are mistreating them, indicating that airlines are failing in their duty to gain travelers’ trust as they focus on price wars and profitability.”

Based on the frequency of flight disruptions in 2018, travelers may consider the following in 2019 for the best possible flights and vacations:

  • Fly during off-peak days or times to avoid the largest crowds at airports. The late night flights are often the least crowded, which means that your flight may be less likely to be overbooked, and your wait time at security will be shorter.
  • Use the free AirHelp app to check for real-time updates about compensation eligibility and flight disruptions. This tool provides travelers with live updates about compensation eligibility, as it scans flights automatically. Through this tool, travelers can also create colorful maps showing where they have traveled to share with friends and followers on social media.
  • Leave extra time for traveling to and from the airport. No matter when people are traveling, they should anticipate traffic near the airport. Schedule extra time for driving, and be sure to leave ample time to get through lines at security in case of large crowds. If it is easy, travelers can also consider public transportation to eliminate parking fees and cut costs.
  • Pack light or only use a carry-on to skip baggage claim. With larger flights, waiting for luggage can take a lot of extra time at the airport. For short trips, travelers may consider using only a carry-on item, as long as all items fall under TSA requirements.
  • Bring chargers and extra entertainment for the airport. Sometimes, flight disruptions are inevitable, so consider packing an extra phone charger and book to take on the flight.
  • Know your rights for flight disruptions, as you could be eligible to claim compensation. If you are flying within the U.S. and you are denied boarding due to an overbooked flight, you may be eligible to claim 400% of the one-way fare to your destination in compensation, of a value up to $1,350. Also, for flight cancellations or lengthy delays, if you’re flying to the EU on an EU airline, or departing from an EU airport, you may be eligible to claim up to $ 700 per person in compensation under European law EC 261.

About AirHelp: AirHelp is the world’s leading flight compensation company, helping passengers to understand their rights and get compensation for delayed flights, canceled flights, and instances of denied boarding. Since launching in 2013, AirHelp has helped more than seven million people process airline compensation claims worth almost $930 million in total reimbursement. AirHelp has offices across the world, is available in 30 countries, offers support in 16 languages, and employs more than 550 employees globally.

About the survey: *Unless otherwise stated, all data is provided by SurveyMonkey. 2,062 respondents participated in this survey, which took place in February 2018. The results are representative of air travelers (ages 18 and older) in the United States.