In the summer months, air travel can be a real challenge. Everyone is trying to escape their hometown for a vacation before the weather cools down. The airports are packed with people, lining up at security checkpoints, airport lounges and boarding gates, until they’re squeezed like sardines onto fully-booked flights. 

That is, if everything goes according to plan. Plenty of passengers found themselves sitting at their boarding gates for hours longer than they expected this past summer. Airports across the country experienced spikes in flight delays and cancellations that only added to the usual chaos of summer travel. 

Could travel this winter be any worse? While it may not be worse than the height of summer travel, the winter season does come with some unique travel obstacles. These are a few of them to prepare for this year.  

Limited Airline Schedules

Lots of airlines have reduced their travel schedules this winter, which means you will have a smaller selection of flights to book. Why have airlines limited their schedules? It minimizes the chances of contending with staff shortages. Staff shortages were one of the many reasons for flight delays and cancelations in the past summer.

Busy Travel Days 

The summer isn’t the only time airports are frenzied with activity. Some airport representatives estimate that this winter holiday season will be busier than ever for domestic and international flights. Which days will be the worst for travel? The days preceding Christmas and New Year’s Day: December 20th, 23rd, 26th, 27th and 30th. If you are traveling on those days, you should go to the airport early and expect to deal with large crowds.   

Weather Delays

Winter storms can force planes to stay grounded until the snow clears. So, don’t be surprised if rough weather delays or flat-out cancels your flight. 

This is a good reason to get travel insurance when you book your plane tickets. Travel insurance can provide coverage for cancelations, delays and other travel disasters.

Along with travel insurance, you should put together an emergency fund for these types of emergencies. You can dip into your fund to cover the costs for essentials while you’re waiting for the airline to recover and get you another ticket. These essentials could be meals, rideshares, hotel stays and more. Just remember to keep your receipts. You’ll want proof of these expenses when you make a claim to the airline and the insurance provider later on.

What if you don’t have much in your emergency fund? Then, you could turn to alternative payment methods. One alternative payment method you could try is an online loan. If you’re approved for an online loan, you can use the borrowed funds to manage your urgent expenses and then follow a repayment plan afterward.

When it comes to online loans, search for options that are available in your state of residence. So, if you live in Norman or Tulsa, you should look for online loans in Oklahoma specifically. You don’t want to waste your time checking out loans that aren’t accessible to Oklahoma residents.

Getting Sick

You’re well aware that it’s easier to get sick in the winter. You’re also more likely to get sick when you travel by plane. There are several reasons for this:

  • You are in a small enclosure with a lot of strangers that could potentially be sick. 
  • You have also gone through an airport that has thousands of occupants throughout the day. 
  • The high altitude leads to lower humidity levels in the cabin, which lowers resistance to contagions. 

Naturally, winter travel will increase your risk of getting sick. What can you do to protect yourself? Take precautions like getting up to date on your vaccinations for COVID-19 and the flu. You should also wash your hands frequently and get a good night’s rest before going on your trip.  

Winter airline travel won’t be a walk in the park. Be prepared to encounter these travel problems this season.