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American Airline Mass Cancellations Raise Concerns About Upcoming Holiday Travel Season

SFO (KPIX) -- Mass flight cancellations from American Airlines on Monday were still creating headaches for Bay Area travelers in what could be a preview of trouble to come this holiday season.

Over the weekend, cancellation mayhem stranded thousands of American Airline travelers across the country. The good news? With November here and the Thanksgiving holiday looming, there are more flights available than anytime during the pandemic.

"We've recovered a little over half of our pre-pandemic activity levels and we expect that to continue during this holiday travel season," said SFO spokesperson Doug Yakel. "Traditionally summer is the peak period for us, but we think that this holiday season will probably be the best for us since the pandemic began."

But with those additional flights and staffing challenges at the airlines comes the possibility of travel shenanigans on par with the '80s Thanksgiving classic "Planes, Trains and Automobiles."

Sergio Avila of AAA Northern California suggests having at least one backup plan, and probably more.

"Where can you go? Where might you stay? If you have a connecting flight, 'Do I have friends in that area? Is there a certain place I should stay?' Look up where the hotels are in that area," Avila told KPIX.

Something all travel experts KPIX spoke with agreed upon: do not check your bags and travel with carry-on only if you can.

Leisure Americas for Flight Centre Travel Group President Marc Casto says 90 percent of his flights recently have been delayed, but most pain and airport drama can be avoided with these three tips.

"Fly direct, book early and try to book the earliest flight of the day. The cancellations tend to increase as the day goes on," Casto told KPIX. "It's far better to wake up a bit earlier than normal to catch that early flight and get to your destination than to fly at a more human hour and never arrive in Grandma's house."


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