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What to know before booking your holiday flights after airline delays and cancelations

Thousands of Southwest flights were canceled this weekend, and passengers are still dealing with the repercussions.

PHOENIX — Travelers are still dealing with the repercussions of thousands of Southwest Airlines flight cancellations across the country over the weekend.

And they’re asking what cancellations and delays could be in store for this holiday travel season across the airline industry.

Days in the airport

It’s rare to spend more than a couple of hours at the airport, but what used to be rare became JR Chaney’s last 48 plus hours.

“This has been an absolute nightmare,” Chaney said.

He’s one of many who had their flights canceled by Southwest. Chaney was originally in Reno, trying to fly back to Omaha to get home to his family in Missouri.

However, the airline sent him to several other airports over the last few days including Sky Harbor International Airport and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

Chaney said Southwest was going to put him on a flight back home on Wednesday, so he made and paid his own way to get back Tuesday.

“I pieced together by flying to a couple of different airports to get me home,” Chaney said. “I paid out of pocket, I’ve spent over $1,000 just to get myself home.”

RELATED: There is no evidence that Southwest Airlines cancellations were caused by workers protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Canceled or delayed? 

Southwest Airlines said weather, and what they call “external constraints” led to the delays and cancelations.

“There’s always a number of factors that cause travel disruptions,” Stathis Kefallonitis said.

Kefallonitis is an Associate Professor of Aviation Business and Passenger Intelligence with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Prescott.

He said anyone impacted by delays and cancelations should contact whatever airline they were on, read the fine print of the ticket, and if you purchased with a credit card company contact them as well.

RELATED: Phoenix residents trying to get home after Southwest cancels flights

‘Travel disruptions’ are ‘inevitable’ 

Kefallonitis said he hopes there won’t be any more issues in the holiday season, he thinks they’re inevitable.

“Primarily because some of the employee layoffs, aircraft retirements and so on,” Kefallonitis said. “Yet at the same time, we don’t have the same volume we had before. Kefallonitis said when making plans for holiday travel, use a credit card to purchase tickets if you can, and consider using travel insurance.

“Always take precautions in case something doesn’t go as planned,” Kefallonitis said.

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