Flying onto the cancellation list

Austin Airport struggles to keep up with the holiday rush
With the Holidays, more and more people find themselves stuck figuring out last minute cancellations or delays.
With the Holidays, more and more people find themselves stuck figuring out last minute cancellations or delays.
Mira Patel

Every year, roughly 22 million people travel in and out of the Austin Bergstrom airport each holiday season, praying their flight will not stray off the tarmac, and into the long list of canceled flights. 

This year it is expected to see record breaking numbers for travelers flying both in and out of the Austin Airport. For some travelers, bad past experiences with holiday flights—cancellations, hotels at full capacity and delays lasting days—have caused a sudden change in heart, seeing that the airports just keep getting busier and busier.

Elizabeth Ferrer, the spokesperson for the AUS Airport, knows that with travel and the holidays, there will always be problems and concerns, so she advises passengers to stay patient, as flights have already been canceled over the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Pack your patience if you’re expecting to travel during the holiday,” Ferrer said. “We’ve already had one of our record breaking days, which was Nov. 27, when everyone was returning from their vacations.”

With winter break just having been concluded, 2023 flight cancellations have only gone up. 

“Get here as early as you can, so for domestic flights you need to get here two and a half hours early.” Ferrer said. “When it’s super, super busy, there can be traffic here at the airport and lots of other things that can slow you down just to get to the terminal.”

Travelers all over the world continue to experience issues that make them try to avoid airport travel. World history and U.S. history teacher Ashley Friedman says that she has experienced flight troubles firsthand, as she likes to travel home to her family over winter break. 

“Just last Christmas, I went back home to New York, and I remember traveling in the Austin airport and it was just crazy crowded,” Friedman said. “Everything was so busy.”

Just last Christmas, I went back home to New York, and I remember traveling in the Austin airport and it was just crazy crowded. Everything was so busy.

— teacher Ashley Friedman

While the Austin airport seems to have its share of problems regarding delayed flights, overbooked seats and cancellations, such travel annoyances happen all around the country, with the same problems popping up everywhere from Washington to New York. 

“I had no cancellations but I was delayed straight from the get go,” Friedman said. “And I even had a layover in a different airport that my next flight was at, which also got delayed. I guess this just goes to show that airports everywhere these days seem to always find trouble around the holidays.” 

Friedman says that getting there early, and booking the early flights are the way to survive the airport and the stress it brings you. 

“I think you definitely think you’re going to want to give yourself more time than you think you need,” she said. “ And as much as you’ll hate yourself day-of, booking that early flight will help avoid at least some of the crowds.”

Junior Gabe Lund is a travel fanatic  and loves heads somewhere cooler for the holidays. Over the past few years, Lund has noticed busier airports, and higher flight risks when traveling.

“ I just love to travel, and my family is constantly in airports around the holidays,” Lund said. “ I also know that the past few years we’ve been at the airport, it’s gotten really out of control.”

Another major concern for travelers this holiday season is weather conditions. Many travelers like Lund are starting to worry about the annual snow that seems to make landfall each winter in Texas. Weather conditions and concerns are not just for Austin travelers, but travel all around the country. 

“We are slightly concerned about the weather because I thought I heard about some heavier weather problems here in Austin,” Lund said. “And we also are heading to a pretty snowy place and the last thing we want is a cancellation or delay.”

We are slightly concerned about the weather … the last thing we want is a cancellation or delay.

— junior Gabe Lund

After all the traveling mishaps that Lund has experienced, He says that along with getting there early, having a generally good and positive experience helped him to turn the situation around, and laugh about it. 

“In the past, we’ve had flights get canceled and it really messed all of our plans up, but I think that we just got really upset and it just made us all really grouchy,” Lund said. “But this year, I think that we’re just going to try to laugh about any kind of problems or cancellations because looking back, we still made it there, and we still got to enjoy our holiday.”

While some try to avoid all of the holiday mayhem, others like Lund say that a few setbacks can’t stop them from enjoying their break.

“I know that for other people, it can become too much,” he said. “But for me and my family, we just know that letting some problems stop us from going on our vacation would be so much worse than being a few hours or even days late. We always get there and that’s all that matters.”

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  • P

    piper lynchJan 22, 2024 at 11:46 am

    This is a really good story, there were a lot of different perspectives and a lot of reasons why traveling during the holidays isn’t ideal. If I had to change something about this article I would put more solutions for navigating the busy airport besides getting there earlier.

  • J

    JosieJan 21, 2024 at 10:25 pm

    This is a great story it is written really well. And all of the quotes are good. It is a good topic to write about and I found it intriguing.

  • F

    Fernando KramerJan 21, 2024 at 7:27 pm

    I really liked this story because it was something that I could relate with, I liked how you used student opinions, and experiences to back up your claim. If I were to change something I would add a statistic of how many flights are delayed and cancelled to kind of show how true the problem is.

  • J

    Jaxon OchoaJan 21, 2024 at 6:07 pm

    I liked this story a lot and thought it was very informative, but I would include more information and specifics about what it was like to get out of the airport and what it was like being there too. I did like the interviews and thought that was interesting.

  • C

    Carson DuncanJan 18, 2024 at 7:04 pm

    This story is really good and I love the details included in it. I liked that there were so many interviews and stories shared from the airport. If I did have to change something I would maybe add more specifics about the flights and or process of getting through the crazy crowded airport.

  • C

    chrisJan 18, 2024 at 2:11 pm

    this is a very good and true story i like it

  • K

    Katie HyzakJan 15, 2024 at 3:17 pm

    This is a very good story, but I think that there could have been more stuff said about the statistics of the flights canceled this holiday season and not just in general.