HOUSTON - If you're traveling this summer, be prepared to roll with changes. American Airlines canceled 400 flights over the last three days due to staff shortages, and they're not alone.
You've probably already struggled just to book a rental car for your trip. Now American Airlines says it will cancel at least 50 flights a day through July.
Shortages of pilots, baggage agents, and other workers are leaving all the airlines and TSA understaffed while trying to keep up with soaring demand for summer travel.
"They shouldn't book the tickets if there's not enough seats. Period. They should know. I mean it's in the numbers. And they should refund whoever they canceled, or comp them," said American Airlines passenger Dana Flemming.
"We just got a text on our phone that we'd have an hour delay and so that caused me to miss my connection flight," said Ariana Allen, another American Airlines passenger.
"Then the pilot got back on the announcement now these flight attendants worked their maximum hours, so we're canceling the flight," United Airlines passenger Ashley Teague told us.
It's a common plight. Delayed and canceled flights.
"The airlines lost a lot of employees during COVID. Some of them took buyouts or early retirement. Some went on leave and are not retiring, but haven't finished training to be current again," said David Slotnick with the travel website The Points Guy.
Slotnick says if your flight is canceled, you're now competing to rebook on fewer available flights. He says the fastest way is to use an app for the airline or travel site that you booked it through.
"You can look at alternative flights, making a connection or taking a non-stop that gets you in at a better time," he said.
If you're already at the airport, phone lines will get busy fast. He says to find an airline agent at customer service or the airline's lounge, even if you're not a member.
"They have customer support specialists that might be able help you," said Slotnick.
If your new flight means you won't arrive on time for your hotel or car rental reservation, call them right away.
"Tell them I'm still coming, I still want this car. I'm just going to be a day later," Slotnick said.
If you can't get a flight time that works for you, you are entitled to a refund or a voucher.
It's not a bad idea to buy travel insurance and pack a carry-on.
Though as Teague tells us, she was forced to check hers. "My bags are in Dallas right now. I'm in Cancun."
Slotnick says check your travel bookings regularly before your trip so you can rebook right away if your flight gets canceled or changed.