PITTSBURG (KDKA) – Although Spirit Airlines received headlines this week for detaining passengers at airports across the country, it is far from alone.

The airline as a whole is experiencing staffing problems and canceled flights.

CBS News travel expert Peter Greenberg says the horizon is overcast.

“Over the next 30 days, fasten your seat belts because you have a great storm between staffing problems, fuel prices, schedules and, of course, the weather,” Greenberg says.

Greenberg also says airlines can replay the weather map. As an example, he cites the cancellation by Americans of 270 flights in one day earlier this week.

“120 of those 270 flights failed to set up a crew,” he says.

Greenburg explains that airlines fired pilots and flight attendants during the pandemic, and “they didn’t return it fast enough, they didn’t expect the return to travel to be as quick as it was.”

To meet travelers ’demand for travel, airlines have added flights, and he says they didn’t have crews to staff them.

“It will continue this month, whether they like it or not, it will start to stabilize only around September 15, when the children return to school and the airlines start to reduce their flights or their frequency, or both,” Greenberg explains. .

At the same time, passengers face cancellations and travel.

Greenberg says the problem is if your flight is canceled.

“Since all flights are full, there are no flights available,” he says.

So to protect your trip, this travel expert says, “If you’re going to book a flight, try making it the first flight of the day, because there’s a very good chance that a real physical plane will spend the night the day before, as well as the crew.” .

Also, if it is canceled, you will receive the remaining flights later in the day to find a seat.

Keep track of connection times if you are going to change planes in the middle of a trip.

“What the airlines will tell you is not just the legal time of the connection, it is absurd and suicidal. It’s 30 minutes. I saw 31 minutes of legal connection in Dallas, Miami, you couldn’t even be an Olympic sprinter and win this race even if the plane arrived on time, ”Greenberg says.

Greenberg says that even if it costs a little more, connect up to 90 minutes.

“Because if your first flight is late, they can’t put you on the next available flight because it’s already full,” he says. “If you have a buffer zone, you have a chance.”

WATCH: Protect yourself from canceled flights

If you receive an email before the flight about the cancellation of the flight and the transfer of the ticket to other flights, time or days, Greenberg says it is the airline’s method.

“It’s the way they fill the planes, it doesn’t do you any good in either form or form,” he says.

Greenberg says hear it loud and clear!

“They actually canceled your outbound flight, now you are entitled to a full refund of the amount paid, even if it was a non-refundable ticket, not a voucher, not a loan you get back,” he warns.

If you decide not to agree to the transfer, Greenberg says demand drives prices, and as soon as next month’s travel slows down and business travel begins, look for some tariff changes.

“If they now have a high fare in the system and no one shows up, it will go down,” Greenberg says.

He advises if your trip is set aside a month and a half this fall to book a trip.

However, if you plan to travel for Thanksgiving or the Christmas holidays, “Don’t wait, don’t go go, don’t collect $ 200, book it now.”

Anyone who recently called to try to solve the airline’s problem has probably been waiting a long time in standby mode.

In some cases, it can be hours.

Greenberg says you better take advantage of a travel agent or booking agent.

“They can stand up for you, and not only that, they prefer relationships with vendors, what they look at on their computer screens, I guarantee you, it’s not what you look at on their own, they have options, that you don’t have phone connections directly with airline vendors that you don’t have, ”he explains. “These 800 numbers are not your friends, but they can get you this information.”

In most cases, agents won’t charge you, but even if they do, Greenberg says, “If there’s a travel agent who wants to charge me $ 25 for a ticket processing so I don’t have to wait three hours for a phone as soon as I can give them that money? “

But again, Greenberg believes that by October the world of air travel should return to normal.

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