This New Air Travel Hazard Could Leave You Stranded, Experts Warn

In addition to flight cancellations, air travel passengers face this additional risk.

If you're traveling this holiday season, you may be worried about what could happen to your carefully planned itinerary—and rightly so. For one thing, the aviation industry is seeing widespread cancelations and delays across the country. But that's not the only reason you could potentially find yourself stuck if you travel this winter. Read on to learn more about a new pitfall experts are urging travelers to watch out for.

RELATED: The CDC Just Banned You From Bringing This on Flights.

COVID quarantine could leave holiday travelers stranded at their destinations.

tourism, business trip, people and luggage concept - close up shot of female hands packing things for a new journey in suitcase.
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Although the latest, Delta variant-driven wave of the pandemic is receding around the country, the disease is far from eliminated and remains a threat to travelers for the second consecutive season. The issue isn't simply the matter of catching the dangerous disease, but also the possibility of getting stuck at your destination if you do test positive, CNN reports.

A positive COVID test could require a traveler to quarantine before traveling home.

Green ribbon barrier inside an airport with the warning of travel restrictions due to the spread of the dangerous Coronavirus
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Americans traveling abroad will need to show proof of a negative COVID test (or documentation of recovery) as a requirement for reentry to the U.S., per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And if you can't produce that documentation, you can't fly. That's why it "is certainly a potential hazard any time you leave the country right now because of the U.S. requirement to be tested and be negative before you come back into the country," Dave Hershberger, owner of Prestige Travel in Cincinnati, Ohio, told CNN.

RELATED: Never Do This on a Plane, Infectious Disease Doctor Warns.

Don't take an international trip this holiday season if you have no flexibility on your return date.

A female passenger in a medical mask is waiting for a flight at the airport.
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Consider how much time you have away from work or other responsibilities, travel experts advise. If you absolutely must be back in town on a certain date, you might not want to take the risk that quarantine will extend your trip. "If you've got two weeks and you can only be gone two weeks, period, that may not be a chance that I would take," Hershberger told CNN. He added that a positive test remains an unlikely result for a traveler who is both fully vaccinated against COVID and takes precautions while away.

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If you are returning from an international trip, everyone on your flight will have tested negative.

Travelers on a plane wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic
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Although you run the risk of getting stranded during an international trip, note that there's a major upside to the testing requirement: Just as you'll be required to produce negative test results or documentation of recovery, so will everyone else on your flight, CNN notes. And that can serve as a serious measure of comfort during a challenging travel time.

Bring your patience for holiday travel in 2021.

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In addition to the possibility of an unexpected quarantine, travelers have plenty to worry about this holiday season—and should expect to pack their patience. Widespread flight cancellations due to staffing shortages have affected major airline carriers across the country. Last month, Southwest Airlines canceled nearly 2,000 flights. Then, over the four-day period spanning Halloween weekend, American Airlines canceled another 2,000 flights. Industry insiders say the problem could get worse before it gets better.

RELATED: Never Do This When Your Flight Is Canceled, Travel Expert Warns.

Alesandra Dubin
Alesandra Dubin is a lifestyle editor and writer based in Los Angeles. Read more
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