To avoid the chances of running into flight delays during the peak spring/summer travel months ahead, there are three airports you should temporarily avoid:
EWR. There are a couple things to look out for in coming months at United’s big hub at Newark International Airport. The airport is currently repaving runways adding new “high speed taxiways” that allow aircraft to exit runways faster. While this will eventually help delay-plagued EWR reduce delays, it’s going to slow things down this summer. One of the airport’s three runways closed on April 1 and won’t fully open again until June 15. The runway will be closed again from September 20-30. This could pose big problems for United flyers connecting to late afternoon departures to Europe, especially when afternoon storms loom. In addition to runway construction, the convenient AirTrain monorail connecting terminals to the car rental center and New Jersey Transit trains to Manhattan will shut down for repairs from May 1 through July 15. This means you’ll have to board buses ($16) or take cabs ($50+) for the traffic clogged journey to Manhattan. Uber is $85 from EWR to Manhattan (click here for $20 off your first ride). It also means taking a shuttle to the car rental lot. 25,000-30,000 passengers a day will be dumped onto airport roadways, so avoid EWR if you can by using JFK, PHL or La Guardia.
SFO. One of San Francisco International’s two runways will be closed from May 17th until mid-September for federally mandated runway safety upgrades. While scheduling this work during peak summer travel season sounds insane, airport officials say that they can get the work done fastest during summer months, the Bay Area’s driest season of the year. However, while it may not be raining, the fog still blows in from the Pacific, and travelers can expect delays during the airport’s peak hours of 10 am – 2 pm. SFO says that new flight procedures implemented last year to allow more planes to land during foggy conditions should help, but that remains to be seen. Smart summer travelers should book SFO flights departing in the early morning or late evening— or consider alternate airports such as Oakland or San Jose that rarely face weather related delays.
MIA: During June and July, Miami International Airport is expected to see an additional 25,000 Brazil-bound travelers headed to the hugely popular FIFA World Cup, June 12-July 13. In June alone, there will be 578 departures from Miami to Brazilian cities, up from 437 last year, according to the Miami Herald. MIA is not only a crossroads for US-based travelers; it’s also a key connecting point for Europeans, Asians and Canadians headed to the games. Miami already has a dismal reputation for customs and immigration, so you can only imagine what it’s going to be like flying through there in June or July. (Hello, Global Entry!) Also factor in south Florida’s famous late afternoon thunderstorms. Talk about a hot mess! Domestic passengers should consider alternate airports such as Ft Lauderdale or West Palm Beach. Those flying to South America or the Caribbean in June or July may consider connecting in Dallas, Houston or Atlanta instead.