A Roll of the Dice – Travelers Share Summer Vacation Experiences Ranging from Near-Nirvana to Absolute Bust

Mahima Tripathi, leisure traveller

All six of my flight legs to and from Europe went smoothly in June and July. Apparently, that’s a minor miracle these days. — Tim Leffel, CheapestDestinationsBlog.com

Planning an actual trip to Las Vegas or any other destination this summer, the overall experience may come down to Lady Luck and a roll of the dice. As airline delays and cancellations continue to make front page news and ruin vacations around the world, others are enjoying wonderful travel experiences this summer. So, why are some experiencing the perfect summer vacation while others are a complete bust? Is it proper planning? Pure luck? A bit of both? ExpertFlyer recently asked consumers and travel experts to share their recent summer travel experiences. Their responses ranged from absolute bliss to downright disappointment.

LaToyia Downs is a PhD graduate student and travel blogger (The Impulse Traveler) whose recent international trip, her first since the pandemic, was lifted straight out of a horror movie. Ms. Downs’ first flight was canceled while on her way to the airport. No explanation or fanfare. Just canceled. Two subsequent flights were also canceled and arrival at her destination (Montego Bay) would not be possible for another three days.

“This has been my worst travel experience. What made it so bad was the feeling of helplessness and disappointment. I had worked hard to get the money and sacrificed my annual vacation days,” Ms. Downs said. “I booked a last-minute flight to Dallas to salvage the rest of my vacation. My experience in Dallas was great. The only downside is that I kept thinking about how much fun I would be having if I was in Jamaica.”

Amy Lyle, a humor writer and author of “Book of Failures,” can certainly relate to the frustration. Her 10th wedding anniversary was canceled four times since 2021 due to Covid, the Israel-Palestine crisis, and the war in the Ukraine. As if that wasn’t enough, Amy and her husband were escorted off a cruise ship bound for Greece because their Covid vaccines were “too old.”

“We had no plan B, but we met an amazing local gentleman in Ravina, Italy, who helped us map out our two-week stay, which included planes, trains, and automobiles,” Ms. Lyle recalls. “Covid was almost a bad memory, no masks to be seen in the hotels, restaurants, or even on the Delta flight over. Mask requirements were in place on public transportation in Italy, but as meals, snacks, drinks, and coffee were served, masks were down.”

But not all vacations were scenes from a horror movie. “All six of my flight legs to and from Europe went smoothly in June and July,” said Tim Leffel, travel author and blogger at Cheapestdestinationsblog.com. “Apparently, that’s a minor miracle these days. In early June, I traveled Tampa-Gatwick-Malaga, Spain, then flew Malaga to Sofia, Bulgaria. On July 4th, I flew back to Malaga from Sofia, then on July 5th flew to Gatwick and Tampa. Security lines were long and the planes were at capacity, but no big delays.”

Pam Howard, author of Our Adventure is Everywhere, traveled domestically from Indianapolis to Las Vegas and Orlando in June with no issues at all. “I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly things ran. I had heard a lot of horror stories about baggage checking, delayed flights, long TSA lines, etc. but I didn’t encounter any of these issues on any of my four flights,” she said. “Both vacations were fantastic. Las Vegas felt very much like it did before COVID, except more expensive! It was also a little more challenging to get restaurant reservations, and there didn’t seem to be as many shows. However, the vibe felt very pre-COVID and it was still a fun trip.”

Tim White, CEO and Founder of MilePro, a lifestyle travel website and blog featuring great tips, hacks, deals and gear to help consumers travel in style, also experienced a plethora of delays and cancellations during his trip to Europe. “I traveled from Detroit to Paris, so I had to deal with the worst of domestic and international travel. One of my layovers was cancelled, the other was delayed by an hour, and my luggage was missing for a day. It was an extremely frustrating and tiring experience,” he said.

Mr. White also noted that burned-out pilots and general staff shortages, and inflation are the two primary reasons for the increased number of delayed and canceled flights. “The burnout also applies to flight staff as airlines have fewer employees and still have people calling off due to COVID. In addition, airlines are struggling to attract new staff at current wages, which means they need to increase wages in order to hire much-needed staff, but most haven’t done that yet,” he added.

“Travel has obviously changed since pre-pandemic and we need to make several adjustments, at least in the short-term,” explained Mahima Tripathi, a leisure traveler from Canada, who shared several key observations with ExpertFlyer from her recent trip from Toronto to Boston. One such observation related to travel blogs. “Travel blogs providing pre-pandemic advice and reviews regarding transportation and destinations are irrelevant.”

Ms. Tripathi made several other observations during her travels including inexperienced wait staff at restaurants, noticeable wear-and-tear in hotels (but increased hotel rates), tour frequencies were reduced, and priority lines at airports didn’t seem like much of a priority.

To listen to the full interview with leisure traveler Mahima Tripathi, visit ExpertFlyer’s blog.

About ExpertFlyer.com

Each month, ExpertFlyer’s One-on-One blog goes face-to-face with the travel industry’s leading decision makers to discuss and address topics relevant to many of today’s business and frequent travelers.

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