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Booking your flight on this day could save hundreds, expert says

When you book your flight and which airline you choose could make the difference in reaching your holiday destination on time or being stuck at the airport.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In the past few weeks, at least two major airlines, including American Airlines, have canceled hundreds of flights and stranded thousands of passengers at airports across the country. 

The last couple of weeks have put a big question mark in the minds of passengers booking flights. If you're looking to schedule a holiday trip, you want the peace of mind to know your flight won't get canceled, leaving you stuck at the airport.  

Airports will undoubtedly be jammed, flights will be crowded and COVID-19 protocols, including vaccine mandates, are likely to still be in effect at both the airport terminal and on flights. So if you're flying, how do you avoid these cancellations that have been happening, and what airlines are a safer bet to get you there on time without delay? 

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Willis Orlando, who works with Scott's Cheap Flights, a website that monitors airlines for cheap airfare, says customers should check their itinerary regularly. 

Think twice before booking with these airlines

"If you have booked a flight, particularly with American or Southwest, which have had some issues, check your flight status regularly," Orlando said. 

He said most people who dealt with cancellations could have done so before they got to the airport, so checking on your flight is important. Another option to consider is booking a backup flight on a different airline. Just make sure it's a refundable ticket before you pull the trigger. 

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to the Defenders team by emailing money@wcnc.com.

The best airlines to fly with during the holidays

"Delta and United both run huge operations and neither has run into the issues that American and Southwest have," Orlando said. 

What is the best day to book your flight? 

Orlando says it used to be Tuesday, but airlines are using algorithms to upload flights and fares, so consider that. 

"No matter when you are booking, look for those off-peak times to fly," Orlando said. "Fly on a Wednesday or a Saturday, those are two of the cheapest days to fly. If you are flying for Thanksgiving, consider flying that Monday or Tuesday and then back on a Monday instead of that typical Wednesday to Sunday. 

"You could save hundreds of dollars doing it that way." 

If you are worried about being tied to your computer or phone checking for cheap airline tickets, you can get price alerts sent directly to you. WCNC Charlotte has reported on a service that Google has for shoppers that finds the best deals on a particular item, well, you can do the same thing with plane tickets. Set a price tracker for the day and time you want to fly and you'll be notified of the best fares when they become available. 

Flying is still a hassle, but maybe with some hacks and expert help, you can tip the scales in your favor a bit this holiday season.  

Contact Bill McGinty at bmcginty@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook.

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