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AAA: Higher Demand for Leisure Travel Could Mean Busy Skies this Summer

baggage claim sign in airport

This summer could be record-setting when it comes to travel by air. Earlier this year, AAA reported a significant increase in international travel bookings. And in a recent interview, the head of the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) said the agency is bracing for passenger levels above pre-pandemic numbers.

Many airlines, including Delta, have already announced a record number of advanced bookings for summer. To ensure travelers have the best vacation experience possible, AAA recommends booking as soon as possible.

“There is a lot of positive energy surrounding leisure travel this summer, which is very encouraging to see,” said Bevi Powell, senior vice president, AAA East Central. “To ensure vacations are as seamless as possible, it’s very important to lay out a game plan early with a trusted travel advisor.”

The Best Time to Book for Summer: 

If travelers want the best choice of options for this summer, the time to book is now. AAA booking data shows demand is high this year, especially for international destinations. Waiting too long to book can result in limited inventory and sold-out cruises, tours, or direct flights.

“If you can be flexible with your travel dates and destinations, that can help you find better deals. But, given what could be record-setting demand, travelers who have grown accustomed to last-minute deals should think twice about waiting,” continued Powell.

AAA Recommendations:

  • When booking, aim for the first morning flight. It’s more likely to depart on time because mornings have less air traffic congestion and fewer weather delays, especially in the summer. 
  • Reserve airport parking ahead of time to save time on departure day.
  • Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before domestic flights, 3 hours before international flights. Remember, international hubs will be extra packed with passengers this season.
  • Sign up for TSA PreCheck or Clear to speed up the security process.
  • Avoid checking a bag. Carry-on luggage allows for more flexibility and speeds up the process when flying.
  • Make sure phones are fully charged. Download airline apps to receive notifications and use FlightAware to track flights the day of departure.
  • Weather is generally considered an “Act of God” and not the fault of the airline. Working with a travel advisor gives travelers peace of mind when it comes to finding rebooking options.
  • If a flight is canceled due to what is in the control of the airline, like a mechanical issue, the airline is responsible for rebooking passengers and providing some amenities, like food or lodging. For entitlements, see the DOT website:

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 70 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.  Past news releases are available at  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.



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AAA East Central is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.