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

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

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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 used to be.”

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 only start to stabilize around September 15, when the children return to school and the airlines start cutting their flights or their frequency, or both,” Greenberg said. .

Meanwhile, 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 take off at the same time as before at night. 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.

“Airlines will tell you that the time of legal connection is not just legal, it is ridiculous and suicidal. It’s 30 minutes. I saw a 31-minute legal connection time in Dallas, Miami, you couldn’t even be an Olympic sprinter and win that race, even if the plane was on time, ”Greenberg says.

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

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“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 said.

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 pass, 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 your own, they have options that you have in they do not have telephone connections directly with airline vendors, which you do not 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 ticket processing so I don’t have to wait three hours for a phone as soon as I can give do they have that money? ”

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

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