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Travel Report: US Airports Prone to Flight Delays and Cancellations This Hurricane Season

Travelers Today       By    Staff

Updated: May 28, 2018 06:02 AM EDT

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In an effort to help empower passengers to make more informed decisions while traveling during the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, InsureMyTrip predicts which US airports are most prone to delays and cancellations and what passengers should know about airline policies.

Summary:

Data Source: InsureMyTrip and The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). Researchers at InsureMyTrip ranked the on-time performance for the busiest airports in the Eastern US during hurricane season.
  • Researchers ranked the on-time performance for the busiest airports in the Eastern US, the part of the country that is most impacted by tropical storms.*
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is ranked the best overall for handling delays and cancellations during hurricane season. It is also the busiest.
  • Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, and John F. Kennedy International are ranked the worst overall for delays and cancellations during hurricane season. All three airports are twice as likely to report a weather delay than any other airport on the list.
  • Passengers should anticipate flight disruptions when a storm develops. Nationwide, flight cancellations soared for major US airports in August and September last year due to storms.

This list ranks the overall on-time performance for the 25 busiest airports in the Eastern US during hurricane season.

Overall Ranking 
(Worst to Best)

Airport

1

Newark, NJ: Newark Liberty International

2

New York, NY: LaGuardia

3

New York, NY: John F. Kennedy International

4

Houston, TX: George Bush Intercontinental/Houston

5

Washington, DC: Ronald Reagan Washington National

6

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX: Dallas/Fort Worth International

7

Fort Lauderdale, FL: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International

8

Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia International

9

Boston, MA: Logan International

10

Baltimore, MD: Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall

11

Dallas, TX: Dallas Love Field

12

Orlando, FL: Orlando International

13

Houston, TX: William P Hobby

14

Miami, FL: Miami International

15

Washington, DC: Washington Dulles International

16

Fort Myers, FL: Southwest Florida International

17

Raleigh/Durham, NC: Raleigh-Durham International

18

Austin, TX: Austin - Bergstrom International

19

Tampa, FL: Tampa International

20

Charlotte, NC: Charlotte Douglas International

21

Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh International

22

Nashville, TN: Nashville International

23

San Antonio, TX: San Antonio International

24

New Orleans, LA: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International

25

Atlanta, GA: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International

Data Source: InsureMyTrip and The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).  

Tip: Travelers booking flights in-or-out of storm-sensitive airports should consider travel insurance with specific coverage for hurricane-related delays and cancellations.

Peak months for flight cancellations
Peak months for hurricane and tropical storm activity also appears to correlate with a higher number of canceled flights nationwide. For example, the highest percentage of all flights canceled in 2017 were reported during August and September. These months also experienced high storm activity along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast.

Month

Arrival Delays

Delayed (%)

Flights Canceled

Canceled (%)

Diverted

Flight Operations

January

97,699

21.71%

8,886

1.97%

1,486

450,017

February

64,264

15.65%

6,312

1.54%

980

410,517

March

88,638

18.14%

8,527

1.75%

917

488,597

April

92,143

19.67%

7,398

1.58%

954

468,329

May

96,680

19.87%

4,039

0.83%

944

486,483

June

110,719

22.40%

5,379

1.09%

1,306

494,266

July

110,081

21.62%

5,757

1.13%

1,555

509,070

August

104,709

20.51%

11,007

2.16%

1,286

510,451

September

58,914

12.84%

15,343

3.34%

791

458,727

October

69,027

14.39%

3,303

0.69%

747

479,797

November

51,298

11.30%

1,418

0.31%

575

454,162

December

85,302

18.38%

5,324

1.15%

989

464,205

2017 (Annual)

1,029,474

18.14%

82,693

1.46%

12,530

5,674,621

When a storm hits an airport,  a significant increase in the number of canceled flights is imminent. For example, Hurricane Harvey was the primary cause for nearly 2,000 canceled flights at George Bush International in Houston last August. The airport bounced back once the storm cleared.

Month

Flights Canceled

Canceled (%)

Flight Operations

May

136

1.18%

11,505

June

77

0.68%

11,298

July

121

1.05%

11,507

August

1,949

17.51%

11,131

September

878

8.97%

9,792

October

23

0.22%

10,608

Data Source: InsureMyTrip and The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).  

Hurricanes and Airline Cancellation Policies
Flight cancellation policies vary by airline and circumstance. When an airline cancels a flight due to bad weather, most will try to rebook passengers on the next available flight.

Airlines are not required to reimburse travelers for losses incurred as a result of a canceled flight, including:

  • Hotel fees
  • All-inclusive vacation or resort fees
  • Cruise payment
  • A pre-paid tour or safari
  • Concert or entertainment tickets

Travelers concerned about protecting any pre-paid, non-refundable trip expenses should buy travel insurance.

To schedule an interview with an expert or to request specific research data, please contact Airport Data Analyst Danny DeMello at news@insuremytrip.com.

Methodology
*Airports were ranked by the InsureMyTrip data team. Data combined three years of on-time performance data for the 25 busiest airports (based on volume of flight operations) located in Eastern US. On-time performance data included weather delays for airports - including those attributed to extreme weather conditions and delays under the control of the National Airspace System (NAS). Proportion of weather delays to number of flights was also calculated in addition to the overall number of delays and minutes of delays. Researchers also reviewed the percentage of cancellations (domestic arrivals and departures). Data was obtained by the US Department of Transportation's  (DOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the agency that  tracks the on-time performance of domestic flights operated by large air carriers.

Researchers evaluated on-time data for selected airports during the 2015, 2016, and 2017 hurricane season. The official hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th (Source: NOAA).

About InsureMyTrip 
It's simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. We are committed to empowering travelers to make the best possible insurance decisions by leveraging our technology, data intelligence, and expertise.

Image: Franck Michel | Flickr 

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

Tags
flight delays, us airports, travel problems, Hurricanes
© 2018 Traverlers Today, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
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