There’s no place like home for the holidays, and Upgraded Points has released its latest report for travelers on where they can expect serious holiday flight delays. Using key industry data, the detailed analysis offers a glimpse of flight delay trends at major U.S. airports and airlines during the winter holiday period. Holiday Flight Delays
“We’re always looking to help travelers during the hectic holidays,” said Keri Stooksbury, Editor-in-Chief of Upgraded Points. “Understanding which airports and airlines have historically experienced more delays can help you anticipate travel hiccups and increase your overall holiday happiness.”
To identify the U.S. airports most prone to holiday flight delays, Upgraded Points used on-time performance information from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation. Analyzing data from the past decade (2014–2022), the historical approach focused on the percentage of delayed departures and arrivals during the winter holiday season (December 14–January 5) across the 100 busiest U.S. airports. The study analyzed the 10 largest U.S. airlines, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) providing busy airport data via enplanement figures and the biggest airlines based on the number of seats as determined by OAG.
Holiday Hold-Ups: Top 5 Airports for Departure Delays
Flying out of one of the following airports? They historically see the highest percentage of departure delays:
- El Paso International Airport (ELP) – 32.78%
- Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) – 30.67%
- Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ) – 30.56%
- San Antonio International Airport (SAT) – 30.33%
- William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) – 30.22%
Landing Late for the Holidays: Top 5 Airports for Arrival Delays
If you’re landing in one of the following airports, you’re most likely to be delayed upon arrival:
- Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) – 30.67%
- Dallas Love Field (DAL) – 30.22%
- Denver International Airport (DEN) – 29.44%
- William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) – tied at 29.44%
- Bozeman Yellowstone International (BZN) – 29.33%
Right on Time: Airports with Lowest Delayed Arrivals and Departures
- Lihue Airport (LIH) tops the charts, boasting the lowest delay rate for both departures (16.78%) and arrivals (17.33%). It’s one of 4 airports in Hawaii to have the top 10 least delayed departures or arrivals.
- Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT) has the second-lowest delay rate when it comes to taking off (17.44%), while Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) comes in third with an 18.44% delay on arrival.
- Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) and Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO) come in fifth for the fewest departure (19.44%) and arrival (19.22%) delays, respectively.
Airlines Most and Least Prone to Holiday Flight Delays
The top 5 airlines with the most delayed departures include:
- Frontier Airlines: 31.9%
- Southwest Airlines: 31.8%
- JetBlue: 30.8%
- Allegiant Air: 29.2%
- Spirit Airlines: 28.1%
The complete study online details the full results, including historical data and a detailed analysis of the top 100 busiest U.S. airports and the 10 biggest U.S. airlines. An extensive list of the airports and cities involved and key study findings presented as comprehensive charts and graphs are available. Check out your rights when your flight is delayed or canceled.
About Upgraded Points LLC
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Upgraded Points is a travel company that helps to demystify the complex world of travel and credit cards. Launched in 2016 by Alex Miller, Upgraded Points uses targeted research efforts and in-depth studies to help travelers maximize their travel, points, and experiences. Learn more at: www.UpgradedPoints.com.