To help empower travelers to make more informed decisions when it comes to holiday travel, travel experts reveal which airports to possibly avoid.
• Experts predict New York’s LaGuardia (LGA) will be most stressful for travelers this Christmas. LGA reports the highest percentage of canceled flights (4.9%) so far this year.
• Flights scheduled for departure between 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm are more susceptible to delays and cancellations.
• If a flight is canceled, most airlines will rebook travelers on the next available flight at no additional charge. However, airlines are not required to reimburse travelers for losses incurred as a result of a canceled flight.
This is the list of the most stressful airports this Christmas, based on flight cancellation rates:
1. LGA New York, NY: LaGuardia (Worst)
2. ORF Norfolk, VA: Norfolk International
3. CHS Charleston, SC: Charleston AFB/International
4. ROC Rochester, NY: Greater Rochester International
5. PHL Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia International
6. EWR Newark, NJ: Newark Liberty International
7. PVD Providence, RI: Theodore Francis Green State
8. DCA Washington, DC: Ronald Reagan Washington National
9. BUF Buffalo, NY: Buffalo Niagara International
10. JFK New York, NY: John F. Kennedy International
11. BOS Boston, MA: Logan International
12. BDL Hartford, CT: Bradley International
13. RDU Raleigh/Durham, NC: Raleigh-Durham International
14. RIC Richmond, VA: Richmond International
15. CLT Charlotte, NC: Charlotte Douglas International
16. MDW Chicago, IL: Chicago Midway International
17. BWI Baltimore, MD: Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall
18. GRR Grand Rapids, MI: Gerald R. Ford International
19. ORD Chicago, IL: Chicago O’Hare International
20. CLE Cleveland, OH: Cleveland-Hopkins International
21. CMH Columbus, OH: John Glenn Columbus International
22. PIT Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh International
23. SDF Louisville, KY: Louisville International-Standiford Field
24. CVG Cincinnati, OH: Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International
25. JAX Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville International
26. PBI West Palm Beach/Palm Beach, FL: Palm Beach International
27. BHM Birmingham, AL: Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International
28. MKE Milwaukee, WI: General Mitchell International
29. IAD Washington, DC: Washington Dulles International
30. IND Indianapolis, IN: Indianapolis International
31. MEM Memphis, TN: Memphis International
32. DFW Dallas/Fort Worth, TX: Dallas/Fort Worth International
33. BNA Nashville, TN: Nashville International
34. BUR Burbank, CA: Bob Hope
35. STL St. Louis, MO: St Louis Lambert International
36. HOU Houston, TX: William P Hobby
37. OMA Omaha, NE: Eppley Airfield
38. RSW Fort Myers, FL: Southwest Florida International
39. DAL Dallas, TX: Dallas Love Field
40. MCI Kansas City, MO: Kansas City International
41. SFO San Francisco, CA: San Francisco International
42. MSY New Orleans, LA: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International
43. OKC Oklahoma City, OK: Will Rogers World
44. TPA Tampa, FL: Tampa International
45. MCO Orlando, FL: Orlando International
46. OAK Oakland, CA: Metropolitan Oakland International
47. MIA Miami, FL: Miami International
48. MSP Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis-St Paul International
49. FLL Fort Lauderdale, FL: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International
50. DTW Detroit, MI: Detroit Metro Wayne County
51. AUS Austin, TX: Austin – Bergstrom International
52. ANC Anchorage, AK: Ted Stevens Anchorage International
53. IAH Houston, TX: George Bush Intercontinental/Houston
54. SAT San Antonio, TX: San Antonio International
55. SJU San Juan, PR: Luis Munoz Marin International
56. SAN San Diego, CA: San Diego International
57. LAX Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles International
58. ABQ Albuquerque, NM: Albuquerque International Sunport
59. DEN Denver, CO: Denver International
60. TUS Tucson, AZ: Tucson International
61. SJC San Jose, CA: Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International
62. PHX Phoenix, AZ: Phoenix Sky Harbor International
63. LAS Las Vegas, NV: McCarran International
64. HNL Honolulu, HI: Daniel K Inouye International
65. ATL Atlanta, GA: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International
66. ONT Ontario, CA: Ontario International
67. GEG Spokane, WA: Spokane International
68. SNA Santa Ana, CA: John Wayne Airport-Orange County
69. RNO Reno, NV: Reno/Tahoe International
70. SMF Sacramento, CA: Sacramento International
71. PDX Portland, OR: Portland International
72. OGG Kahului, HI: Kahului Airport
73. SEA Seattle, WA: Seattle/Tacoma International
74. BOI Boise, ID: Boise Air Terminal
75. SLC Salt Lake City, UT: Salt Lake City International
This table contains data for nonstop domestic flights by major air carriers collected in 2018 thus far by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Flight Cancellation Policies
Flight cancellation policies vary by airline and circumstance. When an airline cancels a flight, most will try to rebook passengers on the next available flight.
Airlines are also not required to reimburse travelers for losses incurred as a result of a canceled flight, such as prepaid, non-refundable:
• Hotel room
• All-inclusive vacation or resort
• A cruise
• A tour or safari
• Concert or entertainment tickets
Dealing With Flight Delays
Each airline has its own flight delay policy for passengers waiting at the airport; there are no federal requirements. Travelers concerned about delays should be aware of the following:
• Generally, early departures are less likely to be delayed.
• Book a non-stop flight (no stops).
• When booking, ask the airline about the on-time performance percentage for an individual flight.
• Closer to departure, check real-time airport data. This will provide timely information on weather concerns or air traffic delays.
• Be aware of “creeping delays.” This is when an airline continues to push back a departure time it can sometimes be extended for hours or lead to a cancellation.
• If a flight is delayed, try to learn the reason why to better gauge if the flight is in jeopardy of being canceled. Reasons for delays may include maintenance, fueling, crew issues, weather, previous flight with the same aircraft arrived late, causing the present flight to depart late, or security issues.
• Some flights will be delayed on the tarmac before or after take-off. As a general rule, DOT prohibits flights to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours.
Rankings were based on the flight cancellation rate per airport. Airports on the list also reported 13,000 or more scheduled flights for 2018 thus far. Researchers also noted other factors, like hurricanes, led some airports to report a high number of canceled flights earlier in the year.