With the start of the summer travel season weeks away, a record number of travelers are again expected to flood airports from coast to coast. U.S. airlines enplaned 201.8 million passengers between June and August 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).
As airline activity heats up so does the potential for flight delays, which can ruin even the best laid travel plans. In a new study, the MagnifyMoney research team took a look at which airlines have the worst summer delays to help travelers prepare for what’s to come.
To see which airports suffered the most delays during the summer travel season, MagnifyMoney.com analyzed Department of Transportation airport arrival data for the 50 busiest U.S. airports between 2008 and 2017.
Key findings include:
- Summer is worse than winter for delays. More than half (52%) of airports have more summer than winter delays, although both seasons averaged an on-time rate of 77.1% for the airports we reviewed.
- Don’t fly in June (if you can help it). June is the worst month for summer airport delays. Three-quarters (76%) of airports reviewed had the most summer delays in June. And the overall on-time rate for June was 76%, compared with the summer average of 77.1%.
- Summer delays are getting worse. Some 54% of airports had worse summer arrival rates in 2017 than they did in 2016, with an average on-time rate across all airports of 76.1%, versus 76.5%.
- Expect 3 out of 4 flights to be on time. The average on-time rate across all 50 airports in 2017 was 76.1%, versus 76.6% over the 10-year period between 2007 and 2016.
- Delays are getting worse at the biggest airports. More than half (56%) of airports had worse on-time arrival rates in 2017 than they did over the previous 10 years.
- It’s rough on the coasts. The numbers showed that Newark-Liberty, LaGuardia and San Francisco had the worst summer delays of all airports reviewed, while Honolulu, Salt Lake City, and John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., had the least.