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Revenge travel flying in summer 2022? You’re best to pack your patience in that carry on! There’s no dictionary definition yet, but industry professionals say the term “revenge travel” is starting to catch on. While this media buzzword originated in 2021 when the world began to reopen after the pandemic, revenge travel is now in full force as testing, vaccine passports, arrival apps, and restrictions in general ease.
Travel is surging
Travel is surging despite high plane ticket prices – the result of making up for lost revenue and increased expenses during the pandemic, magnified even more by recent inflationary forces and increased fuel costs due to the war in Ukraine. The vacation starved have savings, and are making up for two lost years of having had life plans delayed. They’re showing up as a double cohort at the airport, right at a time when the whole travel ecosystem is strained to re-staff enough flight crew, baggage handlers, ground crew, airport staff, customs agents, and catering services to meet the increased demand.
the pandemic hangover
Add to that the hangover impact of arrival apps, and the necessity to still prove vaccination or negative Covid19 testing status, and the additional time hurdles just multiply. Since all systems are interdependent, it doesn’t take much to toss a nasty chain of events into action – resulting in delayed or cancelled flights, and lost luggage. Travel in summer 2022 is not for the faint of heart.
If you haven’t encountered an airport hassle personally these days, you likely know someone who has, or at the very least you’ve read about it. I was last at an airport for a June business trip, to speak at the Las Vegas Travel Agents Forum. It was the week they removed US Covid pre-testing restrictions, and it was likely a golden window of greater travel ease, but before the masses decided to pack their bags and book flights. Speaking of bags, why on earth would anyone check one these days?
It certainly seems that you will need to pack your patience (may I suggest you put it in a carry-on?) if you plan to fly this summer. The following tips list was given to me by Susan Green, a travel agent friend in Arizona. It originated from a US based flight attendant.
Revenge travel summer 2022 flying tips
Flying this summer is ROUGH!!! I feel as a Flight Attendant I should attempt to share some tips to get you through airline travel for the foreseeable future.
1. Things are not good….. if its less than 7 hours – DRIVE! I’m not kidding. There is nothing enjoyable about flying right now. On any airline. If you must fly, keep reading.
2. Download and use the app of the airline you are flying. You can do everything on it – get your boarding pass, track your bags, see your incoming plane, and change a flight. It sure beats waiting in the long line to talk to an agent! Trust me – Usually these apps will tell you a flight is cancelled before the crew even knows!
3. Fly MUCH earlier than you need to – a whole day early if it’s important!! Summer 2022 revenge travel requires a different strategy. This week I saw many people miss important things like weddings, funerals, cruises, international connections, and graduations. The tears were very real, for very real reasons, and there was nothing I could do! If you have to be somewhere, spend the extra money, go a day early. Have a glass of wine and stay in a hotel, enjoy your night not being stressed while everyone else misses their events.
4. ALWAYS fly the first flight in the morning so you have all day to be re-booked if the shit hits the fan. Yes, that means it might be a 3:00 alarm, but morning flights don’t cancel nearly as often.
5. This is not unique to this year, but keep in mind summer is thunderstorm season. A single storm can shut down a whole airport. We can’t fly through them. Storms usually build as the day gets later. Book early flights!
6. Schedule long layovers – Your 1-hour layover is NOT enough anymore. 30 minutes, not a chance. 3 hours minimum.
7. What you see on the news is an understatement. We are short staffed and overworked. Not just pilots and flight attendants, but also ground crews. Without ground crews there is no one to park the planes, drive jet ways, get your bags on/off planes, or scan boarding passes. This causes many delays that snowball throughout the day. Sometimes HOURS. (Another reason morning flights are best!)
8. When flight crews get delayed we time out. We can NOT fly longer than 16 hours. It’s illegal. So, it doesn’t matter if you have a wedding to get to, when we are done we are done. The way things are now, there are no back up crews, so when this happens your flight cancels. (Now you are starting to see why those morning flights are best!)
9. Avoid connecting in Newark. It is literal hell. (Mary here interjecting to add Toronto to that revenge travel list if you’re Canadian). You have a 50/50 chance your flight will cancel or missing your connection. They have been cancelling flights at their starting points just to keep the planes out of Newark because there just aren’t enough people to manage the planes, so the gates stay full. Also, the restaurants are expensive, it is not a great place to be stuck.
10. Be nice. As stated above, we are overworked and tired. We will not help you if you are mean. No one cares that you are going to miss your cruise if you are an asshole. So even if we can help, we will save our help for someone nice. Tensions are high. Our patience is gone. If you make us mad – you will not be flying on our planes. We will leave you behind without a second thought, and laugh about you later.
11. Being drunk on an airplane is a federal offense, so don’t overdo it. If you drink too much at the bar waiting for your delayed flight you risk not being allowed to fly at all. We are too tired to deal with your drunk ass when we have legitimate issues to deal with.
12. Get trip insurance if you have a lot of money invested. I hate the whole idea of this, but I also hate the idea of losing money. Example: I was working a flight yesterday that waited over an hour for a gate. A family of 8 missed their flight to Rome. The only flight of the day. They were going to a cruise which they would now miss. They were all crying and there was nothing I could do. (Also, a reason to fly a day early!)
13. Flights are FULL. If you buy the cheap seats you will not be able to sit with your family. It says so when you purchase your ticket!! Flight Attendants aren’t there to rearrange the whole plane just so you can sit with your family because you tried to save $100 on a third-party website.
14. Speaking of third-party websites and saving money….. Like I said flights are FULL. If a flight is oversold, and no one volunteers to give up their seats, who do you think is the first to be bumped? You guessed it, the family that saved a few $$ booking their revenge travel, by using sites like Expedia, Kayak, Hotwire etc.
15. Pack smart. Don’t be “That guy” Don’t hold up boarding because you have your extenders open till they are busting and you can’t figure out how to make it fit in the overhead. (Passengers are stressed too, they can be aggressive when boarding a delayed flight)
16. Take showers, brush your teeth, leave the perfume off, don’t eat stinky food (Caesar salad and tuna fish I’m talking to you!), and bring headphones. Trust me. These things sound basic, but add to stress on crowded planes. If you are stuck on the tarmac for 3 hours after a 4-hour flight, you will thank me for this.
17. Bring a sweater if you tend to be cold. So tired of half-naked girls asking me to turn the heat up. NO. Wear clothes!! Side note: If you dress like this and ask for heat, there’s a chance I will turn the AC up.
18. That’s not water on the bathroom floor. For the love of God wear shoes to the bathroom!!!
19. Don’t tell a Flight Attendant they look tired. We are and we know. You may cause us to ugly cry right there in galley.
20. Happy Travels!
Carry-on travel tips
Since so many people are loosing luggage these days, missing a connecting flight or being denied boarding without it, there is more pressure on overhead cabin space than ever before during this summer of revenge travel. It was already bad after the airlines started charging for checked bags. This has tipped the available real estate over the edge. Not only do you need to travel with only a carry-on, you need a strategy to ensure it boards with you, and you don’t get stuck gate checking it at the last minute.
5 Tips to ensure your bag stays with you
1.Don’t depend on the “I have life saving medication in my bag” line. As you read above, airline staff are impatient and getting short with customers. They’re just as likely to tell you to take it out and put it in your personal item. It’s not great customer service, but I’ve heard of it happening.
2. When they ask for volunteers to check their bags, don’t even consider it. Time to get selfish. Let someone else be the sucker on the other end waiting at the luggage belt, or worse buying new stuff when their bag doesn’t arrive for days.
3. It makes sense to board early. Whether you use points or pay for a seat upgrade, getting the earliest zone boarding now matters to ensure a place for your carry-on. If you’re traveling with kids, a passenger who requires extra time, or are retired military, you’ve already got this sorted. But for the rest of us, the paid upgrade is money well spent.
4. It should go without saying, but if you have a connecting flight on a small regional plane, you will need to consider the smaller carry-on size bag limit for that flight.
5. If you are forced to check a bag, have a small light weight shoulder/backpack bag in your luggage. Quickly repack your necessities into that along with your purse or small personal item already in tow, and take that maxed out bag as your new personal item. Ideally it’s already packed with the necessities in your carry-on. Make sure the repacked bag has what you need for 4-5 days, or in a pinch your entire trip if a bag gets lost. It’s not a packing situation most will embrace, but if you’ve already downsized to a carry-on, you’re likely capable of the challenge.
If you’re still up for planning travel this summer, or perhaps into the fall and 2023 (when hopefully things will improve), check out CheapoAir.ca or CheapoAir.com to search across multiple airlines for flight deals. Expedia is also featuring flights and accommodation packages worthy of checking out. Plus they’re a great one stop shop for car rentals, flights and places to stay.
Maybe it’s time to hit the road instead?
If after reading that list, as well as carry-on packing advice, you just feel like taking a road trip instead of embarking on revenge travel by air, I can empathize! We did just that in late April with an amazing car trip down the coast of Washington, Oregon and California from British Columbia. We hugged the coast all the way down, exploring and gunkholing (a nautical term that seems to fit for meandering and deciding where to stay on the fly). I’m working on a couple posts from that trip that I hope to share here soon.
Check out these other US road trips for inspiration from past posts… And if you are looking to rent an RV or camper for that road trip, but sure to check out RV Share and use this discount code to get 25% off.
Zion National Park
Wishing you safe and happy travels this summer, whether on the road or embarking on revenge travel in the air. You know what they say about being careful what you wish for… last summer we could have only dreamed of this much freedom to travel. Balance will again be reached. Until then, pack your patience.