December 9, 2022

The Biggest Summer Travel Headaches and How to Avoid Them

Along with sunscreen and masks, you’re going to need to pack patience when you head out on your summer vacation. The travel ecosphere isn’t ready for big crowds, even though they’re coming.

As Memorial Day nears, it’s clear that while travelers are ready to go, travel companies and key agencies like TSA are playing catch-up. Rental cars won’t be the only thing hard to find: wheelchair pushers, security screeners and other airport and hotel staff are in short supply.

Many airport restaurants will remain closed until at least midsummer. Hotels will keep lots of Covid cutbacks in place, from closed lounges to no water glass in the bathroom.

Airlines say phone call volume is up, and so is wait time. It’s a triple whammy: Some customers call trying to redeem vouchers and flight credits given out for pandemic-canceled flights, others with questions about masks, required Covid-19 tests and border restrictions. And reservation centers are understaffed for the volume because of workforce reductions. Airlines are scrambling to hire.

“There’s been an added level of complexity. We do spend more time with customers when they call,” says Julie Rath, American’s vice president for customer experience and reservations.

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