Houstonians planning their holiday travel should remember to budget for time at the airport. As any seasoned traveler knows, ‘tis the season for flight delays.
With that in mind, researchers at the website MagnifyMoney ranked the largest 50 airports in the U.S. by on-time rating. Analysts scoured 10 years of Department of Transportation flight data (2008-2017) for the 50 busiest airports for travel dates December 20-31 each year. On-time are defined as flights departing the airport that reach their destination within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time.
Anyone flying through Houston Hobby may want to download some extra reading material or music. MagnifyMoney ranked Hobby as the sixth worst airport in the U.S. in terms of delays, with only 66 percent of flights showing as on-time. Hobby had 1.4 percent of flights canceled, ranking it 35th in the nation for cancellations. The worst day to travel at Hobby, according to the study, is December 27.
Travelers at George Bush Intercontinental had it slightly better. Bush came in at No. 26 overall in flight delays, with 71.6 percent of flights showing as on-time. Bush had more flights cut than Hobby, with 1.5 percent of its flights canceled, ranking it 29th in the U.S. for cancellations. The worst day to travel at Bush is December 21.
Elsewhere in Texas, Dallas Love Airport didn’t taxi too far behind Hobby, coming in at No. 11 overall in delays, with 68.1 percent of flights showing as on-time. Love saw 1.4 percent of its flights canceled, ranking it 34th worst in the U.S. Travelers weren’t feeling the Love on December 26, the worst day to travel, according to the study.
Dallas-Fort Worth Airport landed at No. 14 in most delays, with 68.4 percent of flights showing as on-time. DFW travelers faced a greater gamble when they showed up at the airport, as 3 percent of flights were canceled, ranking DFW No. 9 overall in cancellations. The worst day to travel at DFW is December 26.
Hill Country travelers fared much better, according to the list. Austin–Bergstrom International Airport had 75.9 percent of its flights run on-time, ranking it No. 44 overall in terms of delays. Only 1.1 percent of Austin's flights were canceled, ranking it 43rd overall. Austin’s worst day to travel is December 22.
The best airport experience in Texas is at San Antonio International Airport. San Antonio boasted 76.5 percent of flights on-time, ranking it No. 46 in delays. Like Austin, only 1.1 percent of flights were canceled; San Antonio came in it No. 42 overall. The worst day to travel in the Alamo City is December 27.
So which U.S. city makes folks wait it out the longest? Travelers in Chicago had better watch out and be prepared to cry. According to the survey, Chicago ranks the highest for holiday delays. The report also revealed that 66 percent of airports had their worst day for delays after Christmas. December 26 came in as the most unfavorable day for holiday delays at 44 percent of airports.
Proving why it’s a vacationer’s favorite, Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport had a sunny 84.2 percent of flights on-time, making it the best airport to avoid delays. Only 0.5 percent of flights were canceled and the worst time to travel (are there ever bad times to travel to Hawaii?) is December 21.