Best and Worst Cities for Flight Delays

Frequent flyers know that one of the best tips for saving money is to take connecting flights, as non-stops tend to be pricier.

Delays: Connecting Flights vs. Non-stops

However, travelers need to know which are the best and worst cities for flight delays, since missing a connection can cost more than any savings. This is especially important for those flying multiple airlines. The trick is to build in plenty of time in an itinerary in case of delays. For those traveling on a connecting flight to a jump off point for international travel, it is worth considering arriving the day before your flight departs.

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Airlines: Best On-Time Record Ever

Over all, the news is good – and the airlines deserve the credit. According to the latest statistics from the Department of Transportation – which cover the first quarter of the year (January, February and March) – this is the best on-time arrival rate for a similar period for any year since the DOT began collecting such data back in 1995.

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As far as best and worst cities, the usual suspects top both lists with a few notable exceptions.

Best: Cities with Highest Percentage of On-Time Arrivals

Cities are ranked per number of flights departing/arriving on-time, starting with the very best:

Top 5 Best On-Time Cities/Airports – Q1 2012
1. Salt Lake City (SLC)
2. Baltimore (BWI)
3. Charlotte (CLT)
4. Chicago Midway (MDW)
5. Minneapolis (MSP)

Rounding out the top 10 were Las Vegas, Tampa, Miami, Orlando and Detroit.

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Worst: Cities with Lowest Percentage of On-Time Arrivals

Cities are ranked per number of flights departing/arriving on-time, starting from the very worst:

Top 5 Worst On-Time Cities/Airports – Q1 2012
1. Newark (EWR)
2. San Francisco (SFO)
3. Houston Bush (IAH)
4. Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
5. New York LaGuardia (LGA)

Rounding out the worst list: Washington Dulles, Seattle, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington Reagan. In case you’re wondering, New York’s JFK finished in the middle of the pack.

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Published: May 14, 2012