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Houston airport logs one of the worst flight delay records in America

Houston airport logs one of the worst flight delay records in America

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Passengers at this airport collectively waited more than 300 years for their departing flight in 2018. Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

If your upcoming travel plans include a flight out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport, you might want to charge your electronics and bring a book to read. A new study from personal finance website FinanceBuzz comparing departure delays at the 25 busiest airports in the country ranks IAH among the worst.

IAH lands on the list at No. 17, averaging 72 minutes grounded and a collective passenger wait time of 393 years in 2018, according to the study. Overall, 18 percent of IAH flights were either delayed or canceled last year.

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), the only other Texas airport in the study, has worse wait times, ranking the third most time-delayed airport in the country, with 67-minute delays on average and passengers collectively spending 872 years waiting there to depart in 2018. Twenty four percent of its departing flights were either delayed or canceled last year. 

So why all the delays? At IAH, most of the time (40 percent, to be exact) there's a National Aviation System delay. The other reasons include aircrafts arriving late (27 percent), air carrier delay (20 percent), arriving aircraft canceled or delayed (8 percent), and weather (4 percent). National Aviation System delays refer to issues such as "non-extreme weather conditions, airport operations, heavy traffic volume, and air traffic control," while carrier delays are described as being "due to circumstances within the airline's control," according to the study.

At DFW, aircrafts arriving late are the biggest culprit at 34 percent, followed by National Aviation System delays (29 percent), air carrier delays (21 percent), aircrafts being canceled or diverted (12 percent), and weather (4 percent).

FinanceBuzz collected its data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which defines a delayed flight as one arriving or departing at least 15 minutes past schedule.

The absolute worst airport for departure delays is Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD), with passengers collectively grounded for 1,133 years in 2018, FinanceBuz says. Tampa International Airport (TPA) sits at the bottom of the list with the least time delayed (264 years collectively).