Planning A Trip? Flight Cancellations Have Become 'The New Norm'

September 29, 2022

Within just the first six months of 2022, nearly a quarter (24%) of U.S. flights have been delayed, of which the consequences have been exacerbated due to the surge in travel demand (dubbed 'revenge travel') following pandemic restrictions being eased.

By July, more flight cancellations had occurred than there were throughout the entirety of 2021. The Department of Transportation has said airlines should bear the brunt of the blame due to flight overscheduling, followed by confusing guidelines on compensating passengers in refunds or vouchers for these inconveniences.

• 2 in 3 travelers said they believe flight cancellations have become 'the new norm'.
• 53% also said they’re more likely to travel to their destination by road instead of plane.
• 65% don’t believe the Department of Transport is doing enough to help travelers.
• Floridians would accept no less than $222 each in airline compensation for flight cancellations, survey reveals.

The cost of cancellation, revealed... FamilyDestinationsGuide.com surveyed 3,014 travelers and asked, hypothetically: ‘If an airline was to bump you off a flight, how much compensation would you accept to do so?’

Unfortunately for airlines, it seems this inconvenience caused to passengers doesn’t come cheap. The average traveler from Florida said they would accept an amount no less than $222 to compensate for the inconvenience of having their booking cancelled or rescheduled on a different flight. This compares to a national average of $283.

When broken down across states, this figure was highest in Alaska, where the average traveler would accept no less than $534 for the inconvenience caused by a flight cancellation or rebooking. Comparatively, travelers in Delaware appear to be more understanding of these kinds of cancellations and would accept an amount of just $86.

The Department of Transportation is creating a website that aims to provide travelers with an explanation of each airline’s policies when it comes to flight delays and cancellations, making it easier for passengers to understand their rights. Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, has also called these travel disruptions “unacceptable”, saying that U.S. airlines should offer meal vouchers to passengers suffering flight delays, as well as hotel lodging accommodations for those stranded overnight. Despite this, more than half (65%) of respondents said they don’t believe the department is doing enough to help travelers in this regard.

According to Department of Transportation data, 3.2% of domestic flights were canceled by U.S. air carriers within the first six months of 2022 and given this, 61% of travelers said they believe flight cancellations have become the new norm. And given how these delays and cancellations have been increasing exponentially over the past few years, 69% also said they’re not optimistic that the travel situation will improve at all this year.

On a scale from 1 to 10 (with 1 being the least confident), the average traveler ranked themselves an average 5, in terms of being confident that their flight will not be delayed.

This explains why 53% also said that due to the increasing number of air carrier delays and cancellations, they’re actually more likely to travel to their destination by road instead, to avoid the risk of airport travel inconveniences completely. It seems the cost of fuel is cheaper than the cost of inconvenience caused by airlines – and that’s saying something!

‘The Department of Transportation is essentially telling U.S. carriers that they need to do far more to support passengers when they are forced to endure delays and cancellations due to flight overscheduling,’ says Rose Ackermann at FamilyDestinationsGuide.com. ‘The department’s upcoming website launch aims to compile all information about airline guidelines in this regard, making it more accessible for travelers to understand their rights in terms of compensation and refunds. Before booking your vacation, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your chosen airline’s policies in terms of cancellations and delays. This may help you to plan the rest of your trip accordingly, in case any of these inconveniences do happen to occur, thus alleviating the stress of having to deal with too much hassle on your holiday.’