‘The airline can’t save you’: Experts say travelers must now get savvier, have backup plans before they fly

A Southwest Airlines jet arrives at Sky Harbor International Airport, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, in Phoenix. Travelers who counted on Southwest Airlines to get them home suffered another wave of canceled flights Wednesday, and pressure grew on the federal government to help customers get reimbursed for unexpected expenses they incurred because of the airlines meltdown. (AP Photo/Matt York) (Matt York, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

In the wake of this week’s unprecedented wave of U.S. flight cancellations, experts and passengers alike are weighing in on how flyers can better prepare for a disrupted itinerary.

While multiple explanations have been put forward to explain the chaos that stranded thousands of passengers in the last few days — the majority of which was led by Southwest Airlines and included weather, staffing, and technology issues — there should be one key takeaway, experts say: Flyers can no longer rely on their airline when something goes awry, and instead should have the savvy and, where possible, the financial resources — to take matters into their own hands.

“The days are gone when you could just take off without a backup plan,” said Kathleen Bangs, a former commercial airline pilot and spokeswoman for FlightAware, a company that provides flight-tracking services.

Read more on NBC News here.