TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — After thousands of flights were canceled over the weekend and on Monday, more Southwest flights were delayed or canceled on Tuesday.
As of 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, eight Southwest flights out of or arriving to Tampa International Airport had been canceled or delayed, leaving many travelers stressed.
“We were supposed to be at work in Raleigh at 8:00 am in the morning and now we’re stuck here,” said Karson Brooks, a stagehands who is supposed to be at a Harry Styles concert in North Carolina on Tuesday night.
“I have a son who’s very, very ill up in Raleigh, NC and we are all trying to get there, so my daughter has rebooked a flight on Delta for me,” said another traveler, Denise Curren.
Southwest is blaming everything from air traffic control issues to disruptive weather and staffing shortages for the delays. Airline industry experts tell 8 On Your Side they’ve heard the issue involves workers protesting the federal vaccine mandate. Southwest has denied those reports.
Regardless of what’s causing the issue, experienced travel agents say the key to a calm journey is travel insurance.
“I say that it’s highly recommended [to have travel insurance] and I give you the price upfront with trip insurance included because it is so important. I don’t believe it should be an add-on anymore in this day and age. There are too many things that can happen,” Travel agent Lori Judd said.
Judd has been a travel agent for more than three decades. She said forking up a little extra money upfront could ultimately save you a ton if something goes wrong.
“If you purchase it up front, with 7-14 days, it covers preexisting, you can get cancel for any reason, you can get cancel for work because a lot of bosses will say, l oh you can’t go. I know you have a trip, but sorry,” she said.
Judd not only recommends insurance for her customers, but buys it for herself every trip, especially in the era of COVID-19.