Holiday travel woes

Published 11:24 am Wednesday, December 29, 2004

By By AUSTIN NEILSON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Bad weather, lost luggage and computer failures were all reasons air travel was brought to a standstill over Christmas weekend.
A series of snowstorms hit much of the Midwest, causing delays and cancellations in major airports in Chicago, Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
Air carrier Comair's computer system failure, along with U.S. Air losing thousands of pieces of luggage, added to the chaos, said Michele Boyd of Signal Travel in Niles.
Boyd said many are travelers were affected as they tried to reach their holiday destinations.
Boyd added staff shortages by some of the major airlines were also to blame.
To try to avoid problems while traveling, Boyd suggested that flyers frequently check the status of their flight at the airport.
In some instances, travel agencies are able to help finding new flights and lost luggage by contacting airline databases, she said.
She added that Signal Travel had a 24-hour hotline for travelers to call if they encountered problems. Carry-on bags are convenient for short trips, said Boyd, but they must follow strict size guidelines enforced by airlines.
Boyd also said during holiday travel, passengers should never have wrapped gifts in their luggage. She said if possible, it is best to ship gifts and other packages in advance via a shipping company.
Boyd noted that human emotion is another factor that does mix well during travel troubles, especially around the holidays.