FORT WORTH, Texas — Things won't slow down for travel agent Andrea Ballard for a few weeks. This is the time of year that keeps her busier than ever.
"January to March is a really big booking season," said Andrea Ballard.
Ballard is part of the customer service team at Sanders Travel Centre in Fort Worth. They are helping their customers land solid travel plans which include booking flights at a good price. They make planning a vacation and business travel less of a headache for people who just want to get away.
"The pricing on air is going to be less because those flights aren't full yet. And work with your agent and in planning where you want to go when you want to get there," said Ballard.
Despite the busy travel season, American Airlines just announced thousands of flight reductions to its summer schedule. One of the major reasons is just like other airlines, American is dealing with an ongoing pilot shortage. Although travel agents are not surprised, it does impact their options.
American Airlines will reduce the number of flights at Chicago O'Hare with 5,910 cuts, DFW will have 5,054 fewer flights and almost 4,000 flights will be cut at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
The summer reduction announcement comes early enough for travelers to make adjustments, especially those depending on travel experts.
When Stephanie Kilson-Thomas books a flight for her clients usually the dates are non-negotiable. That's because much of her business involves getting a wedding party and attendees to their destination at a certain time on a certain day for a certain event. Summer is key to her success too.
"A lot of people like to get married in the summer months," said Kilson-Thomas.
The flight reductions will slightly impact booking for Travel Agent Kilson-Thomas. She owns and operates KT Travel & More in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. She's constantly searching for flights for destination weddings in places like Cancun. In some cases, she herself has to jump on a plane as part of her customer service. Her goal is to get clients there and back home safely without any hiccups in their travels.
Kilson-Thomas strongly recommends every traveler opt-in on travel protection. Kilson-Thomas warns it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
The early announcement of the flight reductions helps travel agents plan better. They urge even if you are booking your own flight, to do so sooner rather than later. Kilson-Thomas urges travelers to start planning months ahead of time, especially since the airline deals with cutbacks and other factors that could change your flight at the last minute.
"We have to understand, with the pilot situation," said Kilson-Thomas. "Safe travel is going to be very important."
Even with fewer flights, the Dallas-Fort Worth-based company will still have 800 departures from DFW every day this summer.