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Widespread flight delays, cancellations to be expected this summer, experts warn

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 6:48 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Passengers on Tuesday afternoon were stuck at Wichita’s Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport as Southwest Airlines on Tuesday cancelled more than 500 flights across the U.S. Customer representatives told passengers that their flight that was supposed to leave Wichita Tuesday now won’t leave until Thursday or Friday. Experts warn you should prepare for at least a 24-hour delay with any trip you book this summer.

As traffic picks up at airports across the country, your planned vacation could take an unexpected turn. It doesn’t matter much where you are going.

“I got a message that says, ‘your flight was canceled from Denver to Las Vegas.’ I came down to the terminal to get assistance and as I was standing in line, I got a memo saying that now my Wichita to Denver flight is canceled. I was very worried,” said Lonnie Lotshaw, stranded at Wichita’s airport.

Fellow stranded passenger Kristin Deal said she wasn’t stressed at first because she thought there would be an easy fix.

“But I guess not. The more I stand here in line, the more stressed I get,” she said.

Between airline staffing shortages across the industry and the recent spike in summer travel, you should expect more flight cancelations and delays then ever before, experts warn.

“If you’re going to travel, make plans for at least a potential 24-hour delay,” said Dean Headley, aviation industry expert and emeritus associate professor of marketing in the Department of Marketing at Wichita State University’s W. Frank Barton School of Business. “Food, medication, whatever it takes, be prepared for tat possibility.” It’s only going to get worse. As summer goes on, it’s just going to get worse.”

If your flight is delayed or canceled due to an airline issue and it’s not weather related, you should ask for a voucher.

“If it’s on the airlines, you should expect and demand some type of compensation, whether that be a voucher or a refund,” Headley said.

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