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This busy Houston airport lands among the very worst for waiting out holiday delays

Houston airport lands among the worst for waiting out holiday delays

George Bush Intercontinental Terminal IAH
Bush Intercontinental boasts a strong on-time ranking. Photo courtesy of Houston Airport System

If George Bush Intercontinental Airport were an airplane seat, it’d be the one towards the back when judged among the best and worst major airports in the U.S. for waiting out holiday delays.

Examining the 15 busiest airports in the country, travel website Orbitz ranked Bush Intercontinental as the 13th best airport to be stuck at if your flight’s delayed during the holiday rush. The website used these categories for its ranking: shopping, dining, Wi-Fi, on-time departures, flight cancellations, member lounges, and public lounges. 

Despite the less-than-stellar ranking, Bush Intercontinental scored well with punctuality, with 83 percent of flights leaving on time (that puts IAH third best in the U.S. after Denver and Atlanta). However, IAH did not perform as well when it came to cancellations, with 2.96 percent of flights canceled, better only than Newark Liberty.

The Orbitz list also lauded IAH for its shopping with 112 outlets and 25 dining options offering fare like pizzas, barbecue, and Tex-Mex. Lounging at the airport is made easier with free Wi-Fi service (with a download speed of 14.53Mbps), four members-only lounges and three public lounges, costing an average of $59.

Orbitz also had high praise for Bush’s Harmony in the Air program, which features live performances from a diverse repertoire of classical, contemporary, jazz, and international artists, “creating an atmosphere that’s designed to sooth and destress passengers.”

A study released earlier this year by market research company J.D. Power rated Bush Intercontinental as the seventh best major airport in North America, based on input from more than 40,000 North American travelers. Among large airports, Dallas Love Field landed at No. 2 and Houston’s Hobby Airport at No. 10 (one place behind Austin-Bergstrom International Airport).

Houston’s two airports shined in this year’s ratings from Skytrax, which produces airline and airport reviews and rankings.

Houston is just the third city in the world and the only city in the U.S. with two airports that have earned a four-star or five-star rating from Skytrax. In Skytrax’s 2018 ratings, Bush Intercontinental and Hobby both received four stars.

“Our airports are an important gateway to our city offering an impression that endures,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said when the Skytrax released its ratings in March. “From fine facilities to efficient operations to world-class shopping and dining, our airports are competing with the best. They are a grand reflection of the city they serve.”