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The Worst US Airports for Flight Delays That You Should Avoid This Holiday Season

News Airports + Flying
by Eben Diskin Morgane Croissant Dec 3, 2018

Traveling during the holidays is no easy feat. The most frustrating airports in the world (and, frankly, many others) are full of irritated people rushing between terminals who are pushing mountains of luggage and stressing out about their impending family time. To make matters worse, the high volume of travelers often leads to flight delays.

To make sure you avoid the worst US airports for delays this upcoming holiday season, The Family Vacation Guide analyzed and compiled delay and punctuality data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics from July 2019 to July 2021. The result is a ranking of the US airports where your flight is the most and least likely to arrive late.

The 10 US airports with the most delays:

    • 1. Newark Liberty International, New Jersey


    • 2. LaGuardia, New York


    • 3. Dallas/Fort Worth International, Texas


    • 4. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International, Florida


      • 5. Palm Beach International, Florida


    • 6. Boston Logan International, Massachusetts


    • 6. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International, Louisiana


    • 8. Orlando International, Florida


    • 9. San Antonio International, Texas


    • 10. John F. Kennedy International, New York


    10. San Francisco International, California

Between July 2019 and July 2021, the worst airport for delays was Newark Liberty International with 24.29 percent of flights delayed or canceled over that period. LaGuardia isn’t so far behind with 22.52 percent. John F. Kennedy International and San Francisco International make it to the bottom of this unfavorable list with 18.79 percent of flights delayed or canceled.

But it’s not all grim prospects for holiday travelers out there. Some airports manage to be punctual much better than others.

The 10 US airports with the fewest delays:

    • 1. Daniel K Inouye International, Hawaii


    • 2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Georgia


    • 3. Minneapolis-St Paul International, Minnesota


    • 4. Salt Lake City International, Utah


    • 5. Detroit Metro Wayne County, Michigan


    • 6. Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International, California


    • 7. Portland International, Oregon


    • 8. John Wayne Airport-Orange County, California


    • 9. Sacramento International, California


    10. Metropolitan Oakland International, California

Despite being the second-busiest airport in the world and serving 95 million passengers every year, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International is the second-most punctual airport in the US with 87.32 percent of its flights arriving on time. People eager to hit the beach will be happy to read that Daniel K Inouye International, the largest airport in the state of Hawaii, takes the first spot with 88.31 percent of its flights on time at arrival.

After you’ve crossed out the worst US airports for delays from your holiday itinerary, take the time to look at the airlines that will get you where you want to be, on time. Using the same set of data, The Family Vacation Guide created a list of the US airlines that are most frequently delayed.

Most delayed US airlines:

    • 1. Allegiant Air


    • 2. JetBlue Airways


    • 3. Frontier Airlines


    • 4. Envoy Air


    • 5. United Airlines


    • 6. American Airlines


    • 7. Spirit Airlines


    • 8. Southwest Airlines


    • 9. Alaska Airlines


    • 10. SkyWest Airlines


    • 11. Republic Airline


    • 12. Delta Airlines


    13. Hawaiian Airlines

Allegiant Air tops the list with only 72.69 percent of its flights being on time, while Hawaiian Airlines boasts a 89 percent punctuality rate. It sure looks like we should all head out to Hawaii with Hawaiian Airlines this year.

Before you book your holiday trip, try to make sure you’re not flying into one of the worst US airports for delays or fly with the least punctual airline. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a turkey dinner or a slice of pumpkin pie just because you picked the worst landing spot or the wrong airline.

A version of this article was previously published on December 3, 2018, and was updated on November 2 2021, with more information.

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