The sequester, a series of federal budget cuts that went into effect in March, forced the FAA to cut employees’ hours by approximately 10% â€” air traffic controllers included. That loss is already causing cascading delays originating in some of the country’s busiest airspace, including New York and Los Angeles.
Indeed, the Federal Aviation Administration blames sequester-related furloughs for more than 1,200 of Monday’s flight delays â€” and the problem is only expected to get worse as the country enters peak travel season this summer. What’s a tech-savvy traveler to do?
Adam Goldstein, CEO of travel booking service Hipmunk, said he’s heard tales of users who fall victim to airline delays pulling up alternate flight options on the Hipmunk mobile app to show airline gate agents in a bid to have their tickets rebooked. Additionally, should the worst happen â€” a flight that’s cancelled or rescheduled for the next morning â€” Hipmunk users can book a nearby hotel on mobile, hopefully beating other passengers who are left to calling hotels in a desperate search for accommodations.
Goldstein added that the sequester-caused FAA furloughs have “no doubt had an impact” on air travel, but said they’re nothing like the disastrous effects a major snowstorm can have on travelers’ plans.