Airlines brace for tough holiday travel weekend

According to AAA, about 3.5 million people are expected to take to the skies over the July 4th holiday weekend, but many of those travelers are already bracing for delays and cancellations.

After weeks of canceling hundreds of flights, Delta Airlines is already forecasting challenging days ahead, issuing travel waivers for passengers flying from July 1 to July 4. A Delta source tells FOX 9 there are hundreds of flights scheduled for this weekend that still don't have pilots assigned to them.

Gunnar Olson from the Thrifty Traveler says the staffing problem is not limited to just Delta though, and all flyers should be prepared.

"Delta issuing this waiver is them trying to get ahead of this problem, but this is going to happen for almost all of the airlines this weekend...this problem is not going to end this summer. Right now, summer is oversold and understaffed," said Olson.

If your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to a refund by law, but it's on you to contact the airline to rebook, whether it's by phone, email or on social media.

Before takeoff, there are some steps you can take to up your chances of getting to your destination on time. Olson recommends getting on the first flight out, as delays and cancellations typically fall like dominoes throughout the day.

"You start with the very first morning flight, your crew is most likely to be there and the plane is most likely to be there," said Olson.

Fly non-stop if you can, try to avoid checking any bags, and get to the airport early.

"A lot of dads who show up 3-plus hours before their plane are going to be vindicated this weekend," said Olson.