As summer air travel starts to build, airports are packed, flights are packed and cancellations occur left and right.  Sounds pretty awful, but it gets worse, and airfares are skyrocketing.  Travelers are abused from booking until they get home again.  You can be sure that airline jokes are coming back again, too.

Taking a quick snapshot of some data points might be useful in providing context.

If you’re going to fly, and are open to something new try using Breeze.  As you can see their flights have the best load factor from a passenger point of view.  Their aircraft typically seat around 100, so the chances of being bumped are low.

Moreover Breeze, as a new entrant, has great fares.  The airline also focuses on being “Nice” – a rather novel idea don’t you think?  Especially nowadays. We hear good things about the airline from people who’ve flown it.

Their route network is limited but growing.  They are developing new markets and these could be to your advantage in finding something different for a vacation spot.  What do you have to lose?

 

The travel industry was desperate for a “V-shaped” recovery and it got one. The recovery was much stronger than expected.  Airlines have not brought enough people to keep their networks running well.  For “airside” employees, getting security clearance isn’t fast enough. Hence the schedule problems and why about every flight has a gate announcement “We are in an oversold situation”.  Expect at least $500 in compensation if you take a later flight. If your flight is at peak times, that number rises a lot. And quickly.  Hope that airlines bring back widebodies for domestic use because the loads are often big enough.

The US is large and flying is the most effective way to get around.  Often this requires using a regional airline to connect.  The trends don’t look promising.  Small planes and growing traffic go in opposite directions – if you can don’t get caught in the squeeze. 

Several communities have lost air service.  This brings us back to Breeze.  Seriously check them out.

As this chart makes clear. When you book your flight, take the earliest one.  EVERY TIME. 

Arrival delays vary by route and airline.  The table shows the averages between 2016 and 2022.  Some airlines cope better than others – JetBlue is impacted by JFK for example.

Even during the pandemic, when traffic was low and flights were mostly on time, as the day goes on, airlines imply lost time and never recover it.

The safest bet could be to use the network airlines as they have the most options to get you where you want to be. Maybe later, but if there’s a weather or other disruption they have more options.

 

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Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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