Your Flight Was Canceled. It May Be a ‘Blessing in Disguise'

NBC 7 Responds looked at some of the common challenges and what you can do when faced with changes to your itinerary

NBC Universal, Inc.

Travel is rebounding from its low last year. Travel experts expected a lot of demand, but the surge is bringing unexpected challenges.

"Travel is rebounding quicker than even the most optimistic analysts had predicted," said Scott Keyes of Scott's Cheap Flights.

NBC 7 spoke to Keyes at the beginning of the year about how travel could rebound. While many cheap flights have vanished because of the high demand, Keyes says deals are still out there.

"Even as we get closer to summer we're still seeing a handful of great cheap summer flights," said Keyes. "Though they're becoming more rare."

But a new challenge is popping up. Travelers are having their flights changed by the airlines as they struggle with logistics.

"You have passengers who might see a flight and want to book it, but there's no guarantee they're eventually going to stick with that," said David Slotnick, an airline reporter. "The issue of just never knowing what's going to happen is, to a degree, slowing down and getting a bit better."

Keyes says this time last year only 40% of flights left on a normal schedule. That's not always a bad thing.

"If an airline changes the schedule on a flight you have booked, that's a blessing in disguise," said Keyes. "If you no longer want the flight, it lets you get a full cash refund."

Airline policies will be different depending on the company, but usually the change means any penalties will be waved. It also can be a chance to improve your itinerary by switching to a non-stop flight.

"When the airline changes the schedule of the flight, look at that not as a negative," said Keyes. "It's an opportunity to get an even better flight."

If you get an email or other notice from your airline, make sure you read it to see if there have been any changes.

"That's the best that customers can do," said Slotnick. "Keep track of your tickets, keep track of your schedules. See if anything is changing and if there's a better alternative."

In addition to flight changes, make sure you check on other parts of your trip such as hotel rooms or rental cars. Keyes says prices on rental cars have spiked right now because many companies sold their fleets to stay in business.

"They're seeing a huge spike in demand but they no longer have the supply to meet that demand," said Keyes. "So the prices are surging."

Expect rental car prices to stay high for a while. Keyes says because of different manufacturing shortages it might take some time for rental companies to build a supply of cars.

Here are some tips to try and find the best deal on a car:

  • Rent through your memberships. Look at Costco, AAA, or other companies to see what deals might be available.
  • Rent from car dealerships. Some dealerships may offer cheaper deals than some rental companies.
  • Check on the pricing. Using ride-shares like Uber and Lyft may be cheaper.
  • Look at renting other types of vehicles. Many people have turned to U-Haul vehicles, but double check your insurance coverage.
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