Last updated: 05:00 PM ET, Thu May 26 2016

The Worst Airports in America for On-Time Summer Travel

Airlines & Airports | Josh Lew | May 26, 2016

The Worst Airports in America for On-Time Summer Travel


Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

A new report published by looks at how airports have performed over the busy summer travel season since 2010. While this summer might not exactly mirror past summers, especially with long security lines and higher volume of passengers flying because of cheaper fares, the report does paint a general picture of how airports perform during the busiest season of the year. 

MileCards looked at Department of Transportation data for the country’s 50 busiest airports for every summer since 2010 (the year a new law ended lengthy tarmac delays). 

Getting there on time 

The most telling statistic in the report was the percentage of on-time arrivals. Over the past five years, Newark has performed worse than any other hub in the country during the summer, except San Francisco, when it comes to on-time arrivals. Only 68.4 percent of the flights were on time for each of these hubs.  

New York LaGuardia (70.3 percent), Chicago O’Hare (72.7) and New York JFK (73.4) rounded out the bottom five. So travelers going through the New York area have a comparatively high chance of arriving late compared to any other metropolitan area in the country. 

Other sub-75-percent performers included Boston Logan and Washington Reagan. 

What about the best airports for on time arrivals during the summer? With 86.4 percent of its flights on time, Honolulu (with its always ideal flying weather) was the unsurprisingly ranking topper. Salt Lake City came in next at 86.2 percent. Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis and San Jose all topped the 80 percent mark. 

What about taking off?

JFK and LaGuardia had the longest taxi times (from leaving the gate to takeoff) during the summer. Both topped the 28 minute mark on average. Two airports dominated by Southwest, Houston Hobby and Dallas Love Field, both had taxi times of less than 10 minutes. 

Los Angeles was the worst airport for waiting after landing. The Southern California hubs’ planes averaged almost 11 minutes of time between touchdown and arrival at the gate. Perhaps surprisingly, another Southern Cal airport, San Diego International, had the least amount of post-taxi landing time: 3.9 minutes. 

Which airports were best and worst overall?

MileCards attempted to come up with an overall ranking that weighed on-time arrivals and the two taxi times. Newark, LaGuardia, JFK and O’Hare scored at the bottom of this ranking, while San Jose and Portland came in as the top two overall. 

Another important variable, the time it takes to get from entrance of the airport to the gate, will certainly also play a role in the overall travel experience for fliers this year. The MileCards study did not look at this, but the TSA has told passengers that it will finally give in to requests from airlines and start posting wait times at airport security checkpoints by the middle of June. 

You can see the full results of the MileCards study here

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