Airports with Most Travel Delays

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As the busy travel season (Thanksgiving – New Year’s) heads into full swing, travelers know there is one thing that could damper their holiday spirit — travel delays.

This time of year brings a surge of travelers and increased demand for airline tickets. But its often mother nature’s unpredictability that can lead to a ripple effect of delays and longer wait times at airports across the country.

The US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics gives a rundown of what airports are known to slow down travel itineraries. The numbers (from 2014) rank which airports are most likely to give travelers some angst.

Chicago O’Hare International

Chicago has a bad rap when it comes to flight delays and cancellations. Last year, more than 28 percent of ALL flights were delayed. But the brutal winter was mostly to blame for sky high cancellations (Over 13,000 flights were cancelled last year).

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International

Atlanta is a major hub and deals with heavy crowds all year long. The airport has improved with keeping planes moving, but it still makes the list with just under 6,000 flights were cancelled. Delayed flights were stuck on the tarmac for an average of 50 minutes.

Los Angeles International

Los Angeles had a delay rate of about 20% (that’s an average delay of about 50-53 minutes). 2,493 never made lift off.

Dallas/Fort Worth International

Last year near a quarter of flights were delayed for 54 minutes. Cancellations averaged around 2.45 percent. That’s higher than average.

Denver International

Mother nature forced many flights to take an extended break from the air. Colorado had a whopping 26 percent of flights delayed last year. The good news? Most eventually got off the ground with Denver International’s cancellation rate under 1.5 percent.

Traveler tales:
“I had an international flight to Haiti during the summer and there were several flight delays as I was traveling through Spirit Airlines.” — Marline Francois

“From 2012 to 2013, I lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area. I also spent an inordinate amount of time either at SFO or waiting for flights to SFO. One trip in particular springs to mind. I was heading to Denver for a very quick business trip, and I think I spent more time in airplanes and airports than I actually did in any meetings. The flight from SFO to Denver was delayed for three hours, and the flight from Denver to SFO was delayed for seven hours. Anyone who is looking to avoid flight delays should avoid SFO.” — John Egan 

“I have experienced major delays at the Atlanta Airport on multiple occasions. The worst delay I experienced was about 7 hours due to a mechanical issue. My flight finally left around 1am and I did not arrive at my destination until after 2am. Commonly, delays occur at Atlanta lasting 30 minutes to two hours when the airport is very busy. I would advise anyone connecting in Atlanta to give themselves at least an hour in between connecting flights.” — Kristina,

Do you have a travel delay story? Share it in the comments section below.

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