Top 10 Least On-Time Airports

Of the big airports, here’s the top 10 with the worst on-time performance percentage, based on the 2007 Department of Transportation stats, via WSJ.

Airport / On-time percentage

10. Dalla/Ft. Worth (DFW) 71.0%
9. Miami (MIA) 70.7%
8. Washington, D.C. (DCA) 70.1%
7. Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 69.3%
6. Boston (BOS) 68.6%
5. Chicago (ORD) 65.8%
4. Philadelphia (PHL) 65.6%
3. New YorK (JFK) 60.9%
2. New York (LGA) 59.9%
1. Newark (EWR) 59.6%

Try to avoid these airports, if you can.

(Photo: Maulleigh)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Galls says:

    yay! Go NY!

  2. AstroPig7 says:

    I don’t think people need this list to tell them to avoid Newark.

  3. rdldr1 says:

    Im surprised that Chicago-Midway isnt on the list next to O’Hare

  4. suburbancowboy says:

    So if you live in New York, you are basically s#!t out of luck.

    Unless of course you go out to MacArthur on Long Island.

  5. azntg says:

    Good to see something from our state landing in top three! Whether it’s good or… oh damn, it’s about lateness! D’oh!

    As the airports handle more and more traffic, what do you expect? Those planes gotta go somewhere!

  6. morganlh85 says:

    lol too bad for NY!

  7. XTC46 says:

    now compare that list to the 10 busiest airports. I wonder how it would compare.

  8. a says:

    Wouldn’t it be because these are almost all the major hubs?

    Sure you have “the most” late flights if you have 5 times the traffic of, say, Bob’s Discount Dry Cleaner and Airport. Or Burbank. :)

  9. caj11 says:

    Would this be for landings or takeoffs, or an overall % of both? Why isn’t Atlanta on the list? I thought they were #1. I always have trouble getting in and out of there. Oh well, doesn’t really matter, top 3 on the list are the ones I would use, living and working in NYC…sigh…

  10. MrBartokomous says:

    @LaurenKitsune: Yes, but the ranking’s based on the percentage of flights, not the raw number.

    Funny though, I’ve flown in and out of Newark half a dozen times and never had a problem.

  11. Mr.Purple says:

    It appears that I can’t fly out of my hometown. New York.
    Then again, I’ve never caught a flight out of NYC.
    Allways miss it.

  12. crnk says:

    Hmmmm, all hub airports with major O&D traffic too. I wonder why they’re crowded and can’t make flights on time….
    Plus, many of these airports are those that are already in urban areas and can’t expand more to meet demand. Notice how IAH, PHX, DEN, SLC, and everything west coast isn’t on there? Those are hub airports too….but they aren’t as close together and most of them can still expand to some extent.
    Also, most service overseas runs from the east coast. Ever take a TATL flight ex-DEN? Not recently! SLC has never hosted TATL service. Even the giant IAH only offers a handful of overseas flights–LGW, AMS, TPE, CDG, FRA, and charter service to LAD on SOR. The point is–the reason the east coast airports are crowded is because that is where the service is from. If everyone connected mid continent for major western europe destinations, then those cities would be just as crowded and delayed.

  13. korith says:

    Surprised that Chicago Ohare was not further up the list. This is no joke, but every time I’ve had a connection through chicago it has been delayed. Been forced to spend a night there, on more than one occasion because of delayed/cancelled flights. Then again I think chicago just has it in for me. During a family vacation the car broke down in chicago, and managed to get lost there too.

  14. cSam says:

    “Try to avoid these airports, if you can.” ??? Well that’s some empty advice right there. If I live near Philly and go to school in Boston, I don’t think I’d ever be able to fly somewhere and actually avoid going to at least one of the airports on the list. And the point of most of these airports is that you can’t avoid them.

  15. jburland says:

    And we should fly from where, exactly?

    The airports listed have a catchment population that represents 20% of the US population….

    Oh, I know!

    Let’s all move to the west coast and fly between LA and SF.

    Interesting (if not actually surprising) information but a grindingly dumb strap.

  16. 7j6cei says:

    It’s not so much the airport you fly into or out of, but the airline you fly. One reason I fly Southwest is not just the value or service, but the fact they fly into and out of smaller airports near the places I need to go.

    For example, tomorrow I have to fly to New York (Long Island) from Chicago. Midway to ISLIP is SOOOOOO much better than say O’hare to JFK!

    Southwest figured it out when they wanted to start flying to the larger cities that there just is not enough room to fly into these major hubs. Besides what those airports want in gate fee’s from the airlines that get passed onto the customer.

    I would rather fly into a close regional airport, rent my car, and have a short drive to get to my stop; than have to fly into anyone of the airports listed. The amount of time you may save flying right to the major city is lost in all the trouble you have to go through dealing with everything else!

  17. BigNutty says:

    Los Angeles is not on this list? Is it just my flights that are delayed? This must be a typo. Also when I lived in Dallas, I never seemed to have a problem and now it’s at the top of the list.

    By the way, how do you “avoid” going to the airport that is near you?

  18. jamar0303 says:

    @csam: Philly-Boston? I’d take a train for that short a distance instead of flying.

  19. shiny says:

    Is anyone else surprised by DCA’s presence on the list? It’s a considerably smaller airport (as it does not have any trans-Atlantic flights), and it certainly isn’t a hub of any kind. There is a standing air curfew of 10:00pm or so. I would imagine with a smaller volume of flights there wouldn’t be as many delays. Guess I was wrong…

  20. CapitalC says:

    Shockingly, I flew into LGA yesterday with no holds! I hope the same is true for my departure.

  21. Youthier says:

    @rdldr1: You know, I’ve never had a problem at Midway (other than Chicago weather) and I used to fly out of there very regularly.

    @korith: The coworker I travel with always wants to do our connection at O’Hare and I refuse unless there’s absolutely no other option. Sometimes it’s hours and sometimes it’s only 15 minutes but it is NEVER on time out of O’Hare.

  22. TWinter says:

    7J6CEI has a point about delays being partly the airline’s fault.

    Charlotte isn’t particularly big and crowded as airports go, but it’s all US Airways all the time, and they run a million little regional planes through there. DCA and Philadelphia also have a big US Airways presence. I wonder if US Airways and it’s history of mismanagement is a big part of the problem at those airports?

  23. groupie says:

    @jamar0303: I went to college in Philly and live in NYC. You’d be surprised how many people fly between DC, Philly, NYC, and Boston. Sure Greyhound and Amtrak both have their well-known drawbacks, but it’s a better alternative in my opinion.

  24. Bryan Price says:

    On 9/10/2001 (Interesting date huh?), I was going home from Columbus, Ohio to Jacksonville, Florida. I was originally scheduled to fly through Charlotte, NC (IIRC). I go to check in on a glorious Monday afternoon to check in to find out my flight had been canceled. No problem, they were going to put me on a flight that was due to leave in five minutes(!). That didn’t matter, the flight was delayed anyways. It was the weather, it was a fire, it was just rumors, I never did hear the official version, but I was flying through Newark. Looking at how the security was being ran, I had the thought “They don’t have to be too vigilante, when was the last time we had a hijacking?” Nice thought that.

    My wife was furious at me, and thought I should wait until the next morning to fly in.

    I finally fly into Newark, and call my wife with the update: 2AM. She’s really pissed at this point. It’s a wonder we made it when we did. We sat in line for an hour at least waiting to take off.

    I finally get home, and promptly get yelled at for not waiting.

    The friend I had been staying with wakes me up the next morning, making sure I had gotten home alright. The first plane had hit the WTC. When we both watched the second plane hit, we got off the phone and I called a buddy of mine that I also saw in Ohio and told him that I was home, and what was going on in NY. I then called my wife, told her, and we made plans to go to our favorite hole in the wall restaurant for lunch, and watch the news from there.

    The thought I had getting to the first plane still haunts me today.

  25. JKinNYC says:

    It would be interesting to see the breakdown by airline at those airports. I bet it would explain a lot. I fly out of All three NYC airports frequently, and I don’t think I’ve seen nearly 40% late departs or arrivals.

  26. durkzilla says:

    Amtrak from Boston (Route 128) to NY Penn Station is a great alternative to flying into any of the NYC airports. Sure, it takes 3 1/2 hours, but I have cell phone and AC power the whole ride, and a much more comfortable seat than any airline.

  27. Snakeophelia says:

    Amtrak is the greatest for the Northeast. I live in Philly and can’t believe how many of my coworkers fly to DC, Boston, NYC, etc. When I tell them I take the train, some of them look at me with utter astonishment. It’s as though they never even considered that, even though I work 8 blocks from 30th St Station.

    Train travel is just so much more civilized than airline travel these days. There’s no frantic searching to find the “best” price. It’s easy to buy a ticket, which is always reusable if you can’t travel on the scheduled day. You can wear nice clothes and boots, since you don’t have to disrobe at any point. You can bring your own food, drink, and wine. You leave on time and arrive on time. Nicer seats are affordable. You can chat on your cell, work on your computer, read a nice book, or just sit and watch the sights go by (although in North Philly, the sights are none too pretty.) If you’re going into NYC, you get to watch the skyline approach, and then you go through the swamps where plenty of bodies must be buried. And you arrive refreshed and ready to go.

    If the terrorists ever ruin THAT for me, I will be pissed.

  28. HeyThereKiller says:

    MacArthur Islip Airport FTW!

  29. josh1701 says:

    @jamar0303: By itself, the flight from PHL to BOS is less than an hour and a half (though it feels like 15 minutes as you almost start to descend as soon as you reach flying altitude). The fastest, and most expensive Amtrak train, Acela Express, between the two cities takes five hours. The “local,” and much more affordable (half-the-price) Regional train service takes six hours. Bought in advance, the plane fare usually costs about the same as the cheaper train fare.

  30. josh1701 says:

    @Snakeophelia: No question, taking Amtrak from Philly to New York City or Washington, D.C. is the only way to travel. It’s Boston that I have the problem with.

  31. HeyThereKiller says:

    @Snakeophelia: @josh1701: P2PCirculator, for the businessman who travels on his own dime

  32. djxspike says:

    I must be lucky. I’ve been through 4 of those multiple times with only 2 delays that were weather related.

  33. Szin says:

    Hahaha! Awesome. I’m only a 10 minute walk from LGA, and frankly, I’m not surprised. A helpful hint for all that go there: ALWAYS pick someone up in the Departure Area. ALWAYS. I’m actually surprised that LGA is worse than JFK. Ah well

    LGA Represent!

  34. Fuck Lion says:

    I’ve flown into and out of DFW 8 times in the past year, and I’ve only had one delay. It was due to weather.

  35. jamar0303 says:

    @josh1701: What? Are they that far apart, or is the Acela slower than I thought (I had thought that it would travel over 150mph)? My god. America really needs a decent high-speed rail line along both the coasts, something like the Japanese bullet trains. It would also help ease the crowding in Boston/NYC/DC because the small city-hopper flights would be replaced by train.

  36. JustAGuy2 says:


    We definitely need a good high speed rail line, and the NYC-Philly-DC leg isn’t bad. It’s the NYC-Boston leg that’s so slow, and fixing that would require straightening a lot of tracks, which means eminent domain proceedings to take a lot of houses and other buildings from people who won’t really see the benefits (i.e. tearing down houses in New London for train service that would stop in New Haven, if that) is a pretty tough political nut to crack. That’s quite apart from the cost of doing it.

  37. JustAGuy2 says:


    One good way to do it would be to fund the improvements by shutting down some of the more boneheaded passenger rail services that will never make anything close to economic sense (i.e. the Sunset Limited from LA to Orlando which loses $285 per passenger, or the Cardinal, where fares only cover 30% of the OPERATING COST, never mind the capital cost).

  38. Kos says:

    I love the NE corridor!

  39. RagingBoehner says:

    @Snakeophelia: The shuttles are usually cheaper than the train, so that might be part of it. Also, free cocktails on the shuttles!

    Although I usually end up taking the ‘hound. It’s hard to beat $35 r/t between DC-NY

    I’m also surprised to see Reagan Airport on that list — I’ve rarely had a problem there especially compared to Dulles or BWI

  40. kimsama says:

    @RagingBoehner: OH NO! Don’t take Greyhound! Try one of the Chinatown buses (DC2NY is nice — free wifi and water) for $35-40 RT. Unlike Greyhound, they won’t bump you if you have a reservation (believe me, I’ve had that happen on Greyhound twice and the second time was the last time I’ll ever ride with them).

    And I concur about National airport — I’ve never had a problem with it, and I’ve flown out of that sucker like 20 times. Then again, I’ve never had a problem with Dulles, either, so I’m either lucky, or taking the first flight of the day really does work.

  41. bravo says:

    Good job, consumerist, it’s completely practical for everyone to avoid all three NYC area airports.

  42. bbbici says:

    This says something about the general attitude of workers in NY.

  43. mammalpants says:

    maybe they are really trying to land in Dalla, but cant find it because it doesnt exist.

  44. brendanm14 says:

    When I used to live up in the Northern ‘burbs of Chicago, I used to fly out of Milwaukee a lot. You can literally park about 100 feet from the terminal for $15 a day. Not a bad alternative for North Subrurban Chicago folks….since getting to Midway isn’t much fun.

  45. mjcarrabine says:

    It was discouraging reading this this morning on my way to PHL to fly to DFW, but I thought “How bad can it be.” Then the flight was delayed two hours, we had to change to a different plane, and then they lost my luggage.Looks like I was wrong.

  46. wHATEver says:

    @Freaky Styley: I only fly occasionally, always from DFW, and this last time hit weather on each trip. Some of the stuff I’ve been reading about the ‘on-time’ performance of airports indicates that the more small planes (like Regional Jets and the like) an airport sends out, the worse their performance will be. DFW is one of the worst offenders (American is in love with RJs, via American Eagle).

    ‘On-time’ impacts are primarily dependent on connecting flights, and normally isn’t felt by those of us who live in the neighborhood (departing/terminating in Dallas). I’ve watched a lot of folks get really agitated as they try to figure out how they’re going to get from Terminal A to Terminal C and on the next plane in 5 minutes.

    @mammalpants: I read that (Dalla) kind of like ‘Holla!’ But that’s probably just me.

  47. AD8BC says:

    I have flown into and out of DFW at least 30 times since I moved here in April, and have had nothing but terrific on-time performance.

  48. cSam says:

    @jamar0303: I got a flight around Christmastime from Boston to Philly for only $50 (that will only take an hour or so). Not only does Amtrak try to charge me 30 more bucks, the ride is four hours longer. No way am I putting up with that. And Acela Express would charge me $200 for a trip that’s only an hour shorter? Not worth it. So yes, I will be flying.

  49. cSam says:

    @csam: (Acela is only an hour shorter than the regional service, definitely not shorter than a plane ride. Sure, I’ll have to put up with security and cramped seats, but at those prices it just makes more sense)

  50. TheRealCMJ says:

    The reason Acela takes as long to get between BOS and NYC is not because it goes slow, but because it stops at a bunch of places and has to slow down as it passes through most stations. When you ride it you see that it flies through most of Mass and some parts of Rhode Island, goes decently fast through the rural parts of CT but chugs slowly through almost every station and in the places where the tracks have at grade crossings.

    When comparing Acela to flying you need to do an apples to apples comparison. Acela is under 3.5-4 hours from downtown Boston to Penn Station in NYC. Compared to flying it’s almost a wash… 20 mins to get to the airport in Boston, 2 hours before your flight, 1 hour taxi/flight/taxi time, 30 mins or more to get to NYC from LGA or JFK = about 3 hours. And when the weather’s bad or it’s a day that ends in the letter “y” the delays eat the difference completely.

    Plus on Acela the seats are more comfortable, you can use your laptop virtually the entire time, get up and walk around, get something to eat or drink whenever you want. With a cellular wireless card you can even do work or screw around on the internet.

    Yes, I’m an Acela fan boy. But if you went back and forth from BOS to NYC almost every week for work you would be too!

  51. rednikki says:

    This is a great, and very useful post! I just wanted to let you know that we linked to it from our How to Fly During the Holidays page:
    Thanks again! This is very helpful!