Last-minute ticket tips as airports brace for travel surge

Morning In America

(NewsNation Now) — There are more Americans since the start of the pandemic expected to take to the skies on the busiest travel day of the year.

Some people are heading to the airport for the first time in 18 months.

Airline staffing has been way down. Jet fuel prices are way up. A huge influx of passengers is expected. Are the nation’s airlines ready for the surge in holiday travelers?

“If the weather kicks in, the airlines are certainly not ready,” travel journalist Peter Greenberg said during an appearance on “Morning in America.” “Because airplanes are full. There’s no Plan B to put you on another flight if your flight is canceled; we still have staffing shortages.”

“It’s going to be it’s a real touch-and-go situation for the next four days,” he said.

Flight cancellations with both Southwest and American only a few weeks ago had raised concern.

Flights at those airlines have since been reduced because of that meltdown, Greenberg said.

“As a result, United was pulled out of 10 cities, American pulled out of nearly 27 cities, mostly on the East Coast. So they’ve tried to at this point, to not get overstretched,” he said.

So this is “sort of like operating as a double-edged sword” because you have more people flying and now fewer flights available., Greenberg said. “All the planes are going to be full.”

Last-minute ticket tips

“In the old days, it used to be you want to book your ticket, one minute after midnight on a Tuesday night,” Greenberg said. “Those days are gone.”

The best day to book a ticket right now according to Greenberg “believe it or not, is Sunday night.”

And “whatever you do, do not book a Basic Economy fare,” he said. “Because that’s the one ticket remaining. That’s a use it or lose it ticket. If you don’t use it, you lose it and you know that you’re not going to get your money back.”

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