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How to Avoid Summer Travel Snafus

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By Marshall Loeb

RISMEDIA, July 18, 2007—(MarketWatch)—Vacation air travel will be anything but relaxing this year, hit by delays and cancellations caused by summer thunderstorms and airline labor shortages. The number of “excessively late” flights jumped 61% from last year in the first 15 days of June, reports Scott McCartney of The Wall Street Journal, and flight cancellations are up a 91%.

If you and your family are preparing for your summer getaway, here are four tips to help you avoid air travel mishaps:

Take an early flight. Summer storms typically strike in the afternoon, causing delays that build throughout the day. To avoid getting waylaid, opt for a morning flight.

Avoid tight connections. With more and more flights arriving late, it’s increasingly difficult to make connecting flights. If you’re planning a two-leg journey, allow extra time in between for delays.

Take an extra day. Frequent thunderstorms and staffing and logistical problems are conspiring to leave airport runways packed. This leads to much longer delays and even cancellations. If you’re trying to make it to a wedding or cruise, build in an extra day to ensure you don’t miss it!

Carry on water and snacks. Don’t get caught on the runway without your rations. Airlines generally don’t serve food until the flight is in the air, so stock up on drinks and munchies in case you’re held up on the tarmac.

Before booking your ticket, visit FlightStats.com for information on chronically late flights.

Marshall Loeb, former editor of Fortune, Money, and the Columbia Journalism Review, writes for MarketWatch.

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