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'Know Your Rights,' Travel Expert Warns Of Possible Flight Delays, Cancellations During Holidays

BOSTON (CBS) -- Cancelations, delays, and long lines.

For many passengers that spoke to WBZ-TV at Logan Airport, flying during the pandemic has been a tough go at times.

"It's been horrible," one man said.

"We finally got on a plane three or four hours later than we were supposed to, and then we had to wait another hour for a crew to fly in," another passenger said.

Whether it's staffing shortages, bad weather or computer glitches, airlines have a tough time bouncing back when things go wrong.

"This time two years ago, airlines had a lot of slack to recover," according to Kyle Potter, editor of "They had extra people, extra planes. They just do not have that anymore."

Potter is warning anyone who booked holiday travel several months in advance to check the flight status to make sure nothing has changed.

"Don't just double-check, but [triple-check] and quadruple-check. Odds are they will change as the trip draws closer."

According to Potter, many airlines advertise several flights to a destination from say Boston to Miami, but when the demand doesn't fill all the planes, they cancel flights and start moving passengers around.

So how can you prepare as a traveler?

"The big one is know your rights," Potter said, explaining that airlines are required to give you a refund, not just a voucher or credit, if they cancel your trip, significantly change the time of your flight, or add a stop over. "Airlines are not very forthcoming about this."

Potter also advises travelers to keep this all in mind when booking the rest of your trip.

"If you have the option between a refundable and non-refundable hotel, pay a little bit extra for the refundable stay." he said. "That way if something happens, you are not left holding the bag."

The same goes for cruises, day trips, or other excursions like homestays booked through sites like Airbnb and VRBO.

Potter says traveling during the holidays is always dicey, but this year is sure to be extra taxing. His advice is to be kind to gate agents if your flight is canceled. You'll need their help to get where you are going, and being upset isn't going to help.


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