(WXYZ) — Are you tired from all the COVID-induced restrictions during the previous holiday season? David Grossman changed things for 2021 by taking his girlfriend and her two kids to Naples, Florida, for Christmas and New Year.
But when it was time for the family to fly back to Franklin, Michigan, their beautiful vacation wrapped up as a nightmare.
"The night before they canceled our flight, and we started looking around for other flights, there was really nothing," says David Grossman, an avid flyer.
According to flightaware.com, since Christmas, over 10,000 flights have been canceled and even more delayed within the US due to the latest COVID-19 surge and lousy weather in parts of the country.
Cadillac Travel Group's David Fishman says he has never seen anything like this in his 39 years career as a travel agent.
"COVID alone what it’s done to the overall travel industry and hospitality industry is staggering," says Fishman.
Days later, and after a series of flight changes, the Grossman family finally hopped on a plane, but instead of a 3-hour direct flight, it was a 14-hour long journey with layovers.
Grossman says, "I saw a lot of very very frustrated people there missing work, and missing connections. It was very frustrating."
Unfortunately, in the "new normal" cancellations and delays are a reality of flying and airlines control how they compensate passengers in such situations, says Fishman.
When it comes to your rights, you don't have any more than what the airlines gives you. Fishman says, "They kind of have control of their planes and how they are going to allow you to fly."
But there are ways you can mitigate the fallout.
"If you are traveling without insurance, [that's a] really bad idea," says David Fishman, President, Cadillac Travel Group.
Pro-tips include getting third-party insurance or even exploring trip delay benefits on your credit card.
As for long layovers, select a city where family or friends can host you.
Lastly, when in doubt, book through a travel agent because there is always an open line of communication if things go south.
"Some there to talk to… and if you want to take it to another level, someone to blame, even though it's not our fault that the flight got canceled, we put them on the flight, we put them on that hotel, so they have someone to go back to and say help me," says David Fishman, President, Cadillac Travel Group.
Experts say the travel industry is working hard to overcome such challenges. Hence, don’t be afraid to fly in the "new normal." Just be smart about how you travel and the tools you choose to protect your journey.