How can I navigate the 2022 airport chaos - Facts, recommendations and hopes from a TMC that has seen it all
With hundreds of flights cancelled throughout May and June, tens of thousands of passengers found themselves stranded in Europe. Huge staff shortages, a rise in passenger numbers and scheduling are generally the root of the recent problems, however cancellations are further compounding the chaos.
With similar issues expected to persist throughout the summer season, we chatted to our global team on how passenger behaviour can help mitigate disruption throughout the next few months.
When should travellers avoid flying?
According to recent reports by global travel data provider OAG, the peak hour for departures is at the start of the day between 6am and 7am. It is reported that 12-13% of a whole day’s flights leave first thing in the morning.
Issues that arise in the morning tend to have a domino effect on the rest of the day, with queues snaking as the day progresses. By booking an early morning flight, you will avoid any potential congestion build-up later in the day.
When using a regional airport, it is best to avoid ‘surge days’ such as Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays or during peak school holiday weeks.
ATPI Team Tip: ‘Observe the entry rules of your destination country. Make sure your passport and documents are up-to-date before leaving for the airport’ – Katie Skitterall, Group Commercial Director
When and how should travellers check in?
If you are just travelling with hand luggage, avoid the queues altogether and simply check in online. All major airlines offer a digital and contactless check-in via an app or website. Also, you can never lose your luggage if it is always with you.
Arrive early, but not too early. An airport’s infrastructure is based around an operational capacity, relying on the number of take-off and landing slots per hour. If too many passengers arrive too early, this also impacts congestion through check-in and beyond.
Again, consider booking an early flight in the ‘peak departure period’ this part of the day will more than likely have a higher number of staff manning check-in and security.
ATPI Team Tip: ‘If travelling with luggage, some airlines allow drop off a day before the flight. So, if you are local to the airport, use this to your advantage!’ – Karen Abbott, Head of Account Management
Should I prepare for my flight to be delayed?
Unfortunately you cannot avoid a delayed flight, but you can be prepared. With a high volume of passengers and a universal shortage of staff, flight irregularities may occur. Before travelling to the airport check your flight status via the airline website and save yourself waiting in an over-crowded airport.
If you are already at the airport, waiting for a transfer, or even stuck on a plane, always make sure that you have a bottle of water and a snack with you. Many airports have brilliant facilities, however many of these restaurants and shops will also have queues and stock delays.
Avoid the stress of your phone battery dying and invest in a portable charging pack or keep your phone charger handy at all times. With tickets, boarding passes and even debit cards now digital – your mobile phone is invaluable.
ATPI Team Tip: ‘Aircrafts are being cleaned and re-stocked quicker than usual to help alleviate delays. Some planes are running short of food on-board – stock up on your favourite snacks at the airport!’ – Jenny Thornton, Director of Digital Services
Ultimately, supply chain issues will persist throughout the year, however ATPI are here and remain strong and consistent in the face of stubborn airport queues. To find out more about how ATPI can help your 2022 travel woes click here.