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Here's Your Survival Guide for Flying Over the Fourth of July Holiday

With more than 49 million Americans expected to travel for Independence Day this year millions of passengers will likely experience some sort of airline related travel disruption

The flight compensation company AirHelp recently crunched the numbers from July 4, 2018, and found that of the 22.7 million U.S. passengers who traveled by air, four million experienced a disruption. And those disruptions amounted to a staggering 670 days of wasted vacation time, according to AirHelp.

“Last year, U.S. travelers wasted more than 16,000 hours, or 670 days, waiting for delayed flights during the Fourth of July weekend,” the company said in a statement. “If travelers experience a lengthy delay or have their flight canceled when flying to the EU on an EU airline or out of the EU, they may be entitled to up to $700 in compensation from the airline under European law EC 261, and can file a claim for up to three years.”

People walking through airport (Photo via 06photo / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
PHOTO: People walking through airport (Photo via 06photo / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

With such flying related challenges in mind, AirHelp recently released data designed to inform passengers about what to expect this year, including highlighting which airports are likely to be busiest and which witnessed the most disruptions in year’s past.

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Among the key takeaways to make note of:

—Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) was the most popular domestic flight route.

—Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Greenville/Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) was the most disrupted route with 67 percent of flights delayed or canceled.

—Sunday, July 8 saw the largest airport crowds, when reviewing flights between June 30 and July 8

"Flight disruptions affect a lot of people during holiday weekends like Fourth of July, and unfortunately, since 92 percent of U.S. passengers don't understand their rights, airlines take advantage of uninformed travelers," said AirHelp CEO Henrik Zillmer. "We urge passengers to read up on their rights for disruptions, luggage issues, and overbooked flights to ensure that they are receiving the compensation they may be legally entitled to claim and reimbursement for plans they may have missed due to the airline's errors."

Here’s the full list of the most popular domestic flight routes last year in the United States, which can help inform passengers of traffic patterns for the 2019 holiday weekend:

—Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

—Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS)

—Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to New York J F Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

—New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA) to Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)

—Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) to Kahului Airport (OGG)

—Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Portland International Airport (PDX)

—Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)

—Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)

—Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

—Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL)

Here is the full list of routes impacted by the highest number of delays, boarding denials or cancellations, along with the associated percentage of disruptions:

—Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Greenville/Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) – 67 percent

—Akron/Canton Regional Airport (CAK) to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) – 63 percent

—Tampa International Airport (TPA) to Long Island MacArthur Airport (ISP) – 58 percent

—Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Akron/Canton Regional Airport (CAK) – 56 percent

—Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Elmira Corning Regional Airport (ELM) – 56 percent

—Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) to Southwest Florida International Airport (RSE) – 55 percent

—Denver International Airport (DEN) to Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) – 55 percent

—Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) to Dane County Regional Airport (MSN) – 53 percent

—Houston William P. Hobby Airport (IAH) to New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA) – 52 percent

—Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO) – 52 percent

In addition to EC 261, which states that if your flight is delayed by more than three hours, canceled, or if you are denied boarding, you and any other passengers in your group may be entitled to financial compensation of up to $700 per person, under U.S. national law, if you are denied boarding because too many passengers checked in for the flight, and you don't volunteer to deplane or take another flight, you can be eligible for compensation of up to $1,350, depending on the value of your ticket fare and ultimate delay in arrival to your final destination.

If flying within the U.S. and you're put on a flight that arrives within one to two hours of your planned arrival, you can be compensated 200 percent of your one-way ticket fare up to $675, according to AirHelp.

If the delay is more than two hours for a domestic flight, you may claim up to $1,350. If you're traveling abroad, and the delay to your destination compared to your original flight is between one and four hours, you can get compensated 200 percent of your one-way fare up to $675.

For delays more than four hours, you may be entitled to 400% of one-way fare up to $1,350.

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