10 Worst U.S. Airports for Flight Cancellations and Delays

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cancellations and delays
Between vacationers packing flights and weather woes, it can be tough for attendees to get to your meeting or event via air on time — or maybe at all. And this year, the cancellations and delays situation is even worse, especially if they have to fly from or connect through these U.S. airports.

Cancellations and delays are as much a part of summer travel as inexperienced fliers clogging the security lines as they head off on vacation. And this year, it’s even worse than usual — especially for attendees who really need to get to your event’s opening night celebration on time.

Pop-up thunderstorms, tarmac-melting heat, and record numbers of leisure travelers are just part of the reason why more than 30,000 flights have been cancelled since Memorial Day, according to FlightAware. Add short-staffed at air traffic controllers and airline staffing shortages to the usual challenges and you get, well, a bit of a mess. This may not be a big deal if you’re heading out on vacation, but it’s a much bigger deal for planners who need to ensure their VIP gets there in time to deliver an opening keynote address at an industry conference.

It’s true that meeting and event organizers can’t do much about airline and federal aviation employment woes, overbooked flights or inclement weather, but they can warn attendees to be sure to leave enough time to ensure they don’t miss anything vital at the event due to airport cancellations and delays.

While no airport is guaranteed to get all its flights out on time, some are worse than others this summer when it comes to delays and cancellations.

So, be especially wary if your attendees or speakers have to travel from or through certain airports, especially those in the New York area. According to an analysis FlightAware did for CNN, Newark and LaGuardia top the list of problem airports right now.

Here’s the full list from CNN of U.S. airports that have so far had the highest percentage of flights cancelled:

  1. Newark Liberty International Airport: 7.9%
  2. LaGuardia Airport: 7.4%
  3. Reagan National Airport: 5.4%
  4. Raleigh-Durham International Airport: 4.3%
  5. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport: 3.7%
  6. Pittsburgh International Airport: 3.7%
  7. Philadelphia International Airport: 3.6%
  8. Boston Logan International Airport: 3.6%
  9. John F. Kennedy International Airport: 3.5%
  10. Charlotte Douglas International Airport: 3.4%

When it comes to delays, look a bit farther South — to Florida, where Orlando, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale have experienced an inordinate number of delays. But Chicago’s Midway tops the list, with 36% of its flights being delayed so far this summer.

Here’s the CNN list of airports with the highest percentages of flight delays:

  1. Chicago Midway International Airport: 36%
  2. Orlando International Airport: 33%
  3. John F. Kennedy International Airport: 31.1%
  4. Newark Liberty International Airport: 30%
  5. Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport: 30%
  6. Miami International Airport: 28.3%
  7. Charlotte Douglas International Airport: 27.8%
  8. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport: 27.2%
  9. Denver International Airport: 27.2%
  10. Harry Reid International Airport: 26.7%

While there are no cures for this particular version of the summertime blues, it can help reduce the possibility of delays and cancellations to choose your flight time carefully. According to Conde Nast Traveler, cancellations start piling up around 3 pm and stay high through until 9 pm, spiking at 6 pm and 7 pm. The flights most likely to get attendees where they need to go generally leave in the morning, when there are fewer flights scheduled. If 5 am is a bit too brutal, they’d have better luck booking between 9 am and 2 pm, since cancellations also spike from 6 am to 8 am.

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