Flying for the holidays? This study shows how likely you are to be delayed or canceled

A plane waits at the gate. (Photo by Soumya Ranjan from Pexels.)

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, and Christmas is right behind that, which means in the coming weeks, a LOT of people will be traveling.

If you’re planning on leaving home for the holidays, you’ve likely already got a plan in place.

If you’re flying, we’re guessing you already know what your plan is. But a recent study might give you a better idea of how smoothly that plan will actually run.

You’ve likely heard in recent months about major cancellations and delays with different airlines, but if you’re crossing your fingers that doesn’t happen to you, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics recently released a study in which it shows airlines most likely to face delays, based on data from July 2019 to July 2021.

BTS considers a flight to be delayed when it arrives 15 or more minutes later than scheduled.

Here’s the thing: There are some airports where, for arrivals, you’re more likely to be delayed than at others.

The Family Vacation Guide broke down data from the BTS.

These airports are the ones that most frequently experience delayed arrivals:

RankAirport% on time% delayed or canceled
1.Newark Liberty International75.71%24.29%
2.LaGuardia77.48%22.52%
3.Dallas/Fort Worth International79.23%20.77%
4.Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International79.78%20.22%
5.Palm Beach International80.34%19.66%
6.Boston Logan International and
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International
80.61%19.39%
7.Orlando International80.78%19.22%
8.San Antonio International80.97%19.03%
9.John F. Kennedy International and
San Francisco International
81.21%18.79%

The following airports are the ones that least frequently experience delayed arrivals:

RankAirport% on time% delayed or canceled
50.Daniel K Inouye InternationalHI88.31%11.69%
49.Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta InternationalGA87.32%12.68%
48.Minneapolis-St Paul International87.27%12.73%
47.Salt Lake City International87.22%12.78%
46.Detroit Metro Wayne County86.90%13.10%
45.Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International85.70%14.30%
44.Portland International85.23%14.77%
43.John Wayne Airport-Orange County85.12%14.88%
42.Sacramento International84.95%15.05%
41.Metropolitan Oakland International84.90%15.10%

And just like the study focused on airport reliability, it also focused on airline reliability.

According to the study from the BTS, Allegiant Air topped the charts with the highest percentage of delayed flights during the study, with a total of 27% of flights running behind schedule.

Below are the most frequently delayed or canceled flights.

RankAirline% on time% late or canceled
1.Allegiant Air72.69%27.31%
2.JetBlue Airways76.80%23.20%
3.Frontier Airlines78.76%21.24%
4.Envoy Air80.48%19.52%
5.United Airlines81.40%18.60%
6.American Airlines81.45%18.55%
7.Spirit Airlines82.04%17.96%
8.Southwest Airlines83.03%16.97%
9.Alaska Airlines83.18%16.82%
10.SkyWest Airlines84.01%15.99%

Chances are, most people have already booked their trips, if they’re flying. In that case, it never hurts to be prepared. But for those who still need to buy their flights, perhaps this is a good reference when booking.

Click or tap here to visit the Bureau of Transportation’s website and access the data found in the study.


About the Author:

Dawn is a Digital Content Editor who has been with Graham Media Group since April 2013. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in electronic media.