Worried About Flight Delays? 4 Tips for Booking Your Next Trip

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  • In recent months, many travelers have fallen victim to flight delays.
  • It pays to research delays by airline, book direct flights, and fly out early to minimize your chances of getting stuck at the airport.
  • It's also a great idea to buy travel insurance so you're covered if something goes awry.

Delayed flights are sometimes unavoidable. But do these things to lower your chances of having your next trip ruined.

A lot of people were eager to get out and travel a lot in 2022 after staying close to home in 2020 and even 2021. But with that surge of travel demand came a host of flight delays.

During the first seven months of 2022, almost 1 million flights were subject to delays, according to Travel + Leisure. And unfortunately, the problem of delayed flights is not about to go away any time soon.

That might make you nervous about the idea of booking your next vacation. But if you follow these tips, you can put yourself in a better position to avoid or cope with a delayed flight.

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1. Do some research to see which airlines are most prone to delays

Some airlines are more likely to experience delays than others. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics maintains data on airlines and their ability to take off on time or not. Do your research and choose your airline accordingly. Granted, picking an airline with a smaller percentage of delayed flights won't guarantee that yours will depart on time -- but it might give you some peace of mind.

2. Book direct flights when possible

The fewer planes you have to board, the less likely you are to experience a delay. Aim to fly nonstop when possible, even if it means shelling out a little more money along the way. The time savings alone may be worth it.

3. Book flights earlier in the day

If you schedule a departure early in the day, you may be less likely to fall victim to airport backlogs than with an afternoon or evening flight. Leaving early might also give you more time to explore your destination. If you're looking at a four-hour flight and you depart at 7 a.m., you'll still have most of the day ahead of you to enjoy, whereas a 1 p.m. flight might effectively eat up your entire day.

4. Always purchase travel insurance

Your credit card might offer some protection if your flight is subject to a delay and that costs you in other ways. But for added protection, buy travel insurance. This is a smart thing to do even if you have a travel rewards credit card. With travel insurance, you may be entitled to extra compensation for a delayed flight, whereas without it, you might have to bear the cost of lodging if you can't get back home and are stuck at your destination for an extra night.

Now, there are different levels of travel insurance you can consider. The most expensive option is apt to be a policy that allows you to cancel your itinerary for any reason. But you don't necessarily need that level of coverage. And you may find that a policy that reimburses you for things like trip interruption doesn't break the bank at all.

Flight delays are par for the course when traveling these days. But you can take these steps to reduce the likelihood of having to deal with a delay -- or incur too many additional costs because of one.

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