Here’s Why Your Summer Flight Plans Might Change Suddenly

Updated: Mar. 09, 2023

Before you start jet setting, make sure to double check your flight time.

With the first day of spring right around the corner, you may already be dreaming of your summer vacation plans. And with airline perks like the Frontier unlimited summer travel pass, United’s new snack menu, free Delta Airlines Wi-Fi along with tons of top destinations to choose from, we don’t blame you! There’s nothing like the feeling of summer vacation.

Before you get your bags packed and hit the beach, though, you may need to double-check your flight time. Thousands of flights throughout the summer months have been affected by schedule changes travelers may not be aware of.

Here’s what you need to know before you set off on any summer vacationing.

What flight changes are happening?

We all know it’s not rare for travelers to experience pesky flight delays and schedule adjustments while traveling. It’s typically part of the travel experience. However, when it comes to these upcoming flight changes, departure time adjustments are already happening months in advance.

Airlines globally have been altering the schedules of thousands of flights from May to August. One such airline is American Airlines, which according to Airline Data Inc., has adjusted or fully cut almost 60,000 flights running from May 1 through Sept. 1 so far.

Sometimes, these flight changes are only affected by minutes—but other times, flight times are impacted by hours or days.

Why are flight schedules changing?

Pandemic travel levels have been unpredictable and, at times, chaotic. Now, as airlines work to predict demand, they are using new technology to inform effective scheduling. And for this upcoming summer, experts are predicting that travel demand will soar. Thus, we can expect a summer chock full of schedule changes.

In an interview with ABC News, managing director of Airline Data Inc., Jeff Pelletier, comments on the scheduling.

“For flights 100 plus days in advance, airlines are using new tools and more up-to-date information to help them schedule flights as efficiently as possible,” Jeff Pelletier, managing director of Airline Data Inc., explained in an interview with ABC News. “They are looking at the future demand curves to help them understand where the demand is, [and] where passengers want to go.”

Are flight changes a good thing?

For the most part, flight departures that are adjusted by days are unlikely. Even so, not all flight changes are necessarily negative.

“By doing this,” Pelletier says regarding flight schedule alterations, “they [airlines] are aiming to provide the ‘right number’ of seats at a price that is as attractive as possible to the traveling public. This is to try and avoid selling out flights completely in high-demand markets and sending out half-empty planes in low-demand markets.”

Additionally, if any major changes—or changes of even up to two hours—are made to flights, passengers may be able to get onto a better flight at no cost. So make sure to be on the lookout and call your airline with any questions or uncertainty.

What can travelers do?

The best thing travelers can do to anticipate any upcoming scheduling changes is to download an airline’s app. That way, passengers can be aware of any travel changes and continue to monitor their flights.

Now that you know what to look out for regarding summer flights, take a look at these ways to save on summer travel.


  • Good Morning America: “Airlines are changing thousands of flight schedules: What you need to know”