Orbitz , a leading travel site,
today said that its Customer Care Center, which monitors flights
around-the-clock, expects to send out more than 10 million Care Alerts
this summer to help travelers with an expected rise in flight delays.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the number of
flights at nine major U.S. airports, including Chicago O’Hare
International—the nation’s busiest—is already exceeding levels
achieved before September 11, 2001. Six more busy U.S. airports will
surpass pre-9/11 flight levels this year.
Compounding the potential for flight problems during the summer is stormy
weather, which requires the FAA to restrict or re-route the flow of
aircrafts, sometimes leading to the delay or cancellation of flights at
airports hundreds of miles away.
“A rise in traffic at many of the nation’s largest airports this summer,
caused by stronger demand for air travel, is expected to increase levels
of congestion, delays and cancellations,” said Scott Ackerman, Orbitz
Director of Customer Care. “Travelers who book on Orbitz benefit from a
seasoned Customer Care team that monitors nationwide travel conditions to
minimize inconveniences caused by flight delays and cancellations.”
According to Ackerman, when Orbitz customers are traveling, the Care team,
consisting of air traffic analysts and specialists in airport and airline
operations, is proactively contacting travelers about changes to their
flights and helping them when problems arise. Orbitz customers are
encouraged to provide a wireless device such as a mobile phone, pager or
PDA so they can be reached en route about delays or other events impacting
their travel plans.
By signing up for Orbitz Care Alerts, travelers can receive updates about
their individual flight status, including delays, gate changes and
cancellations. Orbitz customers can also enroll family, colleagues or
friends to receive Care Alerts and stay informed of any changes to the
With multiple factors threatening to impact flight schedules this summer,
Orbitz offers the following tips for travelers:
- Monitor the weather prior to traveling, and if thunderstorms are looming
travelers should check to see if they could stand by for earlier
- When traveling east, plan to arrive early. Travelers can avoid
thunderstorm delays by scheduling flights that land before lunchtime.
- When traveling west, schedule flights that land in the afternoon,
avoiding dense fog that causes delays at many West Coast airports.
- Register yourself and others to receive wireless flight status updates,
such as Orbitz Care Alerts, sent directly to your cell phone or PDA.
- Keep snacks and bottled water on hand. Since many airlines no longer
serve food, a snack is good to have if your flight gets delayed while
you’re on board.
- Check airline flexibility policies. Many airlines waive fees for flightchanges due to severe weather—check for waiver rules with the airline directly or with your travel agency.
- Avoid connections whenever possible—especially at congested hub
airports. By going nonstop, travelers can avoid congestion at hubs
caused by severe weather.