It’s bad enough that travelers have to wait in extra-long security checkpoint lines this summer. But there’s a good chance they’ll encounter flight delays as well – although the odds of that happening vary considerably from one airport to another.
The website MileCards.com examined government data on airlines’ on-time performance at the nation’s 50 busiest airports during the summer months over the years 2010-2015 and concluded that your flight is least likely to arrive on time if you fly into Newark or San Francisco this summer.
Those two airports had a summer on-time flight arrival rate of just 68.4 percent. By contrast, the on-time arrival rate for Honolulu – the number-one ranked airport – was 86.4 percent, followed by Salt Lake City at 86.2 percent and Seattle and 83.1 percent.
The study determined that June is the worst month for flight delays, with an overall on-time arrival rate of 75.4 percent during the six-year study period. (That’s even worse than January at 77.4 percent.) The best month for on-time flight operations was September, with an on-time rate of 83.9 percent.
According to MileCards.com, the problem at San Francisco is fog delays, while flights at Newark must contend with congestion and summer thunderstorms. Speaking of Newark, three of the five worst airports for summer delays were in the New York area: The on-time arrival rate over the six-year study period was 70.3 percent at LaGuardia and 73.4 percent at JFK. (The other airport in the top five worst for summer delays was Chicago O’Hare at 72.7 percent.)
Other sources of frustration for summer travelers are long waits to take off once you’ve boarded, and delays in getting to the arrival gate after the plane has landed.
MileCards.com said that four of the five airports with the longest waits to take off were in the northeast: New York JFK was the worst, with an average taxi-out time of 29.8 minutes, followed by LaGuardia (28.0 minutes), Philadelphia (23.5) and Newark (22.6). The fifth was Atlanta, with a wait time of 20.1 minutes.
On the other end of the trip, there were five airports that showed average taxi-in times to the gate that exceeded 10 minutes. They were Los Angeles (10.7 minutes), Chicago O’Hare (10.5), Dallas/Ft. Worth (10.5), Atlanta (10.0) and JFK (10.0).
MileCards.com created what it calls a “Misery Score” for each airport using a formula that combines all three of the above rankings. Newark won the title of “most miserable airport for summer travel” with a Misery Score of 95, followed by LGA, ORD and JFK, which each scored 94. The least miserable airports for summer travel, MileCards.com calculated, are San Jose and Portland, with Misery Scores of 11 and 12 respectively.
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