HOUSTON – The Fourth of July is expected to be a busy weekend for travel.
Houston airports say they have already seen an uptick in passengers and expect more than 1.25 million people to fly through Bush and Hobby airports this weekend.
“Airports are packed and flights are delayed and it’s a jungle out there for consumers, so you can’t travel naively thinking it’s going to be like the good old days,” said Brian Kelly with the Point Guys.
The weekend could be rough with many flights being canceled or delayed, but travel experts with the travel blog The Points Guy shared tips on how you can get to your destination without any troubles.
Your flight is booked and you’re ready for takeoff, but what happens if your flight is delayed or canceled? It’s something that can happen ahead of the busy holiday weekend.
“So, first things first is having the airline app downloaded to your phone and knowing your way around the app. Often when a flight is canceled or delayed, you can book a flight via the app, but of course, those seats on the flight go very quickly, especially if you’re looking at multiple cancellations at the airport,” said Madison Blancaflor with the Point Guys.
With an ongoing pilot shortage, staffing issues, and construction at Houston’s IAH airport, some travel pros recommend booking a backup flight with a different airline just in case your original flight is canceled.
But Blancaflor said double booking isn’t always necessary.
“Especially if you don’t have the budget for it. What you can do is, if you can preemptively move your flight, do it to the first flight out in the morning so if you are the first flight out of the day, that’s the flight least likely to be disrupted because you’re not having to wait for an inflight to come in,” she said.
Blancaflor said it’s also important to have everything you need in your carry-on bag.
“If you are checking a bag, make sure you have your passport, your phone, your ID, a wallet and at least one change of clothes with you,” Blancaflor said.
Give yourself extra time if you have a connecting flight.
“Do not try to make the 30-minute connection this weekend. You might make it, I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s going to be harder this weekend with packed flights. And if your flight does get delayed on the front end, then you might miss your connection and it will throw off the timing of your trip,” Blancaflor said.
There are ways you can be savvy and save money.
“Flights are crazy expensive. They have risen 50% just in January, so you’ve got to get discounts. And T-Mobile, now, if you’re a customer, you can get free AAA for a year, and those discounts can be very significant, especially with hotels, “Kelly said.
When it comes to arriving at Houston’s IAH airport, officials say to pick up passengers from Terminals A or B to avoid congestion and traffic at Terminals C, D, and E.
“It’s going to take a while, so people need to be patient,” Kelly said.
Another good tip is to book your parking reservation online. Several garages at IAH are close to full and you will have to park outside the airport.