CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Last year, people were told to stay home for the holidays as a precaution due to the pandemic. This year, many are hoping to get on a flight to visit loved ones.
Experts say travelers need to be thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas plans now. So what should travelers expect, following months of air travel woes?
With recent images of airports filled with stranded passengers still fresh on travelers' minds, the industry is warning those flying this holiday season to be prepared.
"Some of the local airline executives have come out and said that they are prepared for the holidays," Daniel Armbruster with AAA Texas told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. "That they don't expect the cancellations and delays that consumers experienced over the summer. But certainly, consumers should still be prepared for changes, delays, or possible cancellations."
It's a continuation of a year filled with disrupted travel for tens of thousands of passengers across multiple airlines.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport even experienced flight cancellations this weekend after American Airlines said strong winds in Dallas, Texas kept crew members from being able to get to the next flight in their schedule -- affecting more than 700 flights across the country.
Travel agents are encouraging people to pad trips with an extra day or two on either side and to check flight status days in advance in case of changes.
In addition to working with a travel advisor who can help should things go awry, AAA also recommends travel insurance and booking end-of-year flights now.
Armbruster said that means locking down Thanksgiving travel as soon as possible.
"There's fewer flights that are going to be available for the holidays, so it's important to book as early as possible," he said. "Not only to save money but just to make sure you have a seat."
Travel experts say one thing is certain: it never hurts to pack your patience.
An American Airlines spokesperson told WCNC Charlotte by email on Sunday, Oct. 31, that "we expect considerable improvement beginning tomorrow with some residual impact from the weekend."
The following flights had been impacted as of 3:15 p.m. on Sunday.