What to Expect for Summer 2023 Travel

Here is what to expect for summer travel in 2023

Keep an Eye on Strikes in Europe

Strikes by pilots and airport employees in France, the United Kingdom, and Germany have already caused a lot of cancellations for travelers throughout Europe. There is already a threat of more "walk outs" during what is expected to be a busy summer travel season. If you're travling to Europe this summer, be sure to keep an eye on any relevant strike or walk out news and pack some flexibility just in case. 

Air Traffic Controller Shortage

While a lot of attention has been paid to the pilot shortage, the air traffic controller shortage could cause even more headaches. According to National Air Traffic Controllers Association, only 54% of air traffic control positions in the New York City area are currently filled. If you get a bad afternoon of thunderstorms, this could cause some major headaches as there may not be enough controllers to get the influx of planes in and out of the region. When so much of the country's air traffic goes through New York, it could cause a ripple effect throughout the country. 

TSA Ramping Up the Hiring Process Amidst Shortage

The airlines aren't the only ones facing staffing shortages. TSA is hoping to avoid long backups at airports this summer through a recruitment drive that includes signing bonuses and pay raises that kick in July 1. Still, you'll want to arrive at least two hours early and perhaps earlier at major airports. There is still time to sign up for TSA PreCheck, which TSA says generally has lines that are five minutes or less at most airports. 

Don't Expect a Repeat of Summer 2022 Chaos 

While the amount of flights has increased slightly on airlines schedule frorm last year to this year, the amount of seats has gone up nine percent from year to year. This ultimately means airlines are swapping out smaller planes for bigger ones to be able to adequately meet the high demand. This will allow airlines to meet passenger demand while not necessarily adding more flights to a system that's just about maxed out. 

Expect to Pay A Lot

According to the travel planning site Hopper, flights to Europe and Asia are the highest prices they have been in five years. Additionally, flight prices overall are up 35 percent and travel searches are up 20 percent since last year. The high prices seem to be sticking to international flights as domestic flight prices seemed to have peaked after last year's increases, as prices are down 19 percent from last year, but still up six percent from 2019, according to Hopper. Hotel prices are also up according to Hopper, while rental car prices are a bit back to normal as the rental car shortage has subsided, also according to Hopper.

Check Your Passport's Expiration Date

If you're traveling internationally this summer, make a point to double check your passport's expiration date. You typically need at least six months of validity when traveling so be sure your passport is valid for awhile. There is also a major backlog of passport renewals where it's taking upwards of 11 weeks for a standard passport renewal. 

Know Your Rights

The Department of Transportation has become a lot more transparent with regards to passenger rights over the last few years. The DOT has a page on their site detailing passenger rights when flying.

The Bottom Line

While we don't look like we are headed for a repeat for last summer, it never hurts to make your plans with a little flexibility. It may be helpful to arrive a day early and try to take the earlier flights in the morning as those are less likely to face built up delays.