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As summer travel increases, more flights getting delayed or canceled

Weather, technical issues, and a staffing shortage are all contributing factors

CALIFORNIA, USA — Flight delays and cancellations are becoming more common as summer travel ramps up to levels we haven't seen since before the pandemic.

That's leaving passengers frustrated, and in some cases, stranded.

Since June, airlines across the board have been dealing with bad weather, technical problems, and staffing issues, all of which have resulted in delays and cancellations.

For example, American Airlines will cancel between 50 and 80 flights a day through at least mid-July to, "build in additional resilience and certainty to its flight schedule.”

Barbara Findler of Fallbrook was among several people Tuesday having trouble trying to catch an American flight out of San Diego.

"I had my trip canceled. I'm trying to get to Pittsburgh to see my mother who is 88 and not doing well," said Findler.

Other passengers had their flights changed with little warning.

"They just changed my flight added a stop in Phoenix and it was a two hour layover and then from there to Dallas," said Yesenia Munoz.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, airlines are not required to compensate passengers when flights are delayed or canceled.

And each airline has its own policy as to what they'll do for delayed passengers, whether it's pay for a hotel or provide snacks.

So, what are your rights?

Compensation is required by U.S. law only when certain passengers are "bumped" from a flight that is oversold.

If your flight is canceled, most airlines will rebook you for free on their next flight, as long as it has available seats.

If your flight is canceled and you choose to cancel your trip as a result, you are entitled to a refund, even for non-refundable tickets.

"As we get closer to a back to normal world there will be a few headaches here and there but you can do the best to minimize them,” said Doug Shupe with the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Shupe advises people work with travel agents who can manage changes more easily.

Also, to try and avoid or deal with a delay or cancellation, fly nonstop, book flights well in advance, and get travel insurance.

“The airline industry just like other industries is trying to readjust to this post-pandemic world,” said Shupe.

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