Traveling for Thanksgiving? Best Airports for Navigation During the Holidays
Traveling for the holidays is stressful enough without also weathering sudden flight cancellations and delays. Best airports for avoiding unwanted surprises …
November 21, 2019
For those who may want to avoid spending their Thanksgiving dinner at the boarding gate, munching on a tuna sandwich and waiting for news about their delayed, if not cancelled, flight, researchers at InsureMyTrip compiled a list of the top 75 US airports that have the least chance of having holiday mishaps this season.
• Hawaii airports are considered the least stressful followed by Salt Lake City (SLC) and Atlanta (ATL).
• It is forecast that New York’s LaGuardia (LGA) will no longer be most stressful for travelers this 2019 Thanksgiving. LGA has improved its cancellation rate this year. The airport previously reported the highest percentage of canceled flights in the country for both 2018 and 2017 (winter storms a factor).
• Chicago airports have endured a rough patch with on-time performance issues. Chicago O’Hare International (ORD) and Chicago Midway International (MDW) are currently experiencing the highest cancellation rates in the country, based on available 2019 data. Those numbers don’t yet include last week’s snow storms which grounded over 1,000 flights.
• 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.
List of the least stressful airports this Thanksgiving, based on flight cancellation data collected through the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics:
1 Honolulu, HI: Daniel K Inouye International (LOWEST)
2 Kahului, HI: Kahului Airport
3 Salt Lake City, UT: Salt Lake City International
4 Atlanta, GA: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International
5 Boise, ID: Boise Air Terminal
6 Portland, OR: Portland International
7 Spokane, WA: Spokane International
8 San Juan, PR: Luis Munoz Marin International
9 Seattle, WA: Seattle/Tacoma International
10 Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis-St Paul International
11 Detroit, MI: Detroit Metro Wayne County
12 Anchorage, AK: Ted Stevens Anchorage International
13 Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles International
14 Santa Ana, CA: John Wayne Airport-Orange County
15 Fort Myers, FL: Southwest Florida International
16 Miami, FL: Miami International
17 Las Vegas, NV: McCarran International
18 Albuquerque, NM: Albuquerque International Sunport
19 Tucson, AZ: Tucson International
20 Phoenix, AZ: Phoenix Sky Harbor International
21 Sacramento, CA: Sacramento International
22 Fort Lauderdale, FL: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International
23 Reno, NV: Reno/Tahoe International
24 Austin, TX: Austin – Bergstrom International
25 San Antonio, TX: San Antonio International
26 Tampa, FL: Tampa International
27 Houston, TX: George Bush Intercontinental/Houston
28 Ontario, CA: Ontario International
29 San Diego, CA: San Diego International
30 New York, NY: John F. Kennedy International
31 Washington, DC: Washington Dulles International
32 San Jose, CA: Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International
33 Cincinnati, OH: Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International
34 Raleigh/Durham, NC: Raleigh-Durham International
35 Nashville, TN: Nashville International
36 West Palm Beach/Palm Beach, FL: Palm Beach International
37 Charlotte, NC: Charlotte Douglas International
38 Knoxville, TN: McGhee Tyson
39 Orlando, FL: Orlando International
40 Louisville, KY: Louisville Muhammad Ali International
41 Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh International
42 Denver, CO: Denver International
43 New Orleans, LA: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International
44 Oakland, CA: Metropolitan Oakland International
45 Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville International
46 Hartford, CT: Bradley International
47 Omaha, NE: Eppley Airfield
48 Oklahoma City, OK: Will Rogers World
49 Indianapolis, IN: Indianapolis International
50 Columbus, OH: John Glenn Columbus International
51 Boston, MA: Logan International
52 Kansas City, MO: Kansas City International
53 Memphis, TN: Memphis International
54 San Francisco, CA: San Francisco International
55 Richmond, VA: Richmond International
56 Birmingham, AL: Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International
57 Cleveland, OH: Cleveland-Hopkins International
58 St. Louis, MO: St Louis Lambert International
59 Providence, RI: Theodore Francis Green State
60 Milwaukee, WI: General Mitchell International
61 Charleston, SC: Charleston AFB/International
62 Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia International
63 Washington, DC: Ronald Reagan Washington National
64 Baltimore, MD: Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall
65 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX: Dallas/Fort Worth International
66 Norfolk, VA: Norfolk International
67 Grand Rapids, MI: Gerald R. Ford International
68 New York, NY: LaGuardia
69 Dallas, TX: Dallas Love Field
70 Buffalo, NY: Buffalo Niagara International
71 Burbank, CA: Bob Hope
72 Newark, NJ: Newark Liberty International
73 Houston, TX: William P Hobby
74 Chicago, IL: Chicago O’Hare International
75 Chicago, IL: Chicago Midway International (HIGHEST)
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. However, passengers need to know that airlines are 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
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 14,000 or more scheduled flights for 2019 thus far. Researchers also noted other factors, like hurricanes and winter storms, led some airports to report a high number of canceled flights earlier in the year.