Here's Why Experts Are Saying Travel Will Be 'Chaos' This Summer

The airlines, airports, and even car rental services are underprepared for the resurgence in travel.

Chanawat Phadwichit/Shutterstock
Editor's Note:We know COVID-19 is continuing to impact your travel plans. Should you travel now, be sure to familiarize yourself with the CDC's latest guidance on domestic and international travel as well as local requirements, protocols, and restrictions for both your destination upon your arrival and your home city upon your return. Be safe out there.

Travel has been a hot mess lately, with airlines canceling hundreds of flights and even going as far to trim back their schedules in response to the ongoing staffing shortage. Now, experts are warning of even more "chaos" this summer.

With a sudden boom, airlines and airports alike are struggling to manage amid the resurgence, especially given the significant staffing cuts that took place during the pandemic. And despite how tumultuous this last month has looked alone, things are about to worsen. 

"I think it's a preview of things to come—and I do think things are going to get worse," consumer advocate Christopher Elliott said of the travel situation in both the US and Europe, according to CNN. "The summer will be chaos."

Elliott went as far as to advise against European travel for the entire month of August and blamed airlines for under preparing for the surge.  

"It's everyone's fault except their own," Elliott joked. "If they took a good look in the mirror they'd realize that during the pandemic they downsized and laid staff off, and now demand has come surging back and they're caught off guard. They haven't been able to staff up fast enough to meet demand."

Even those considering car rentals as an alternative aren't going to find much of a break. Prices are skyrocketing. According to Phil Partridge, a broker for Rhino Car Hire, rental agents have yet to fully restock their fleets, causing a shortage in its own right.

"Secure a car at the earliest opportunity and check rates periodically leading up to your rental," Partridge recommended. "You can always cancel and rebook at a lower rate if prices drop, but can't turn back the clock and book the rate you saw months prior."

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Megan Schaltegger is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist.