Four Airports That Were Terrible For Flight Connections In 2011

The Holy Grail for many travelers is that winning combination of a great price on a plane ticket and no stopovers. Flying direct can save you the hassle and stress of missing a connection, but sometimes, you can save cold hard cash by booking your trip in legs. And it seems that some airports were better at helping passengers make those flights than others last year.

CNBC takes a look at the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ ranking of the 10 worst U.S. airports for on-time arrivals and departures out of 29 major airports in 2011. So if you can try to avoid a few of these, you might have better luck at making that connection and won’t need to curse the gods of the air for smiting you with aggravation.

Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport: Coming in as the best of the worst at the 10 spot, 78.88% of flights landed at the terminal on time in Fort Lauderdale. That means the other 21.12% of the time, passengers were frantically running through the terminal if they needed to get on another flight. Since 19.74% of flights didn’t take off on time anyway, many of those passengers were probably just fine.

Philadelphia International Airport: Philly secured a solid position at 7. It’s the 12th busiest airport in the world in terms of traffic movements, so it’s bound to suffer some delays. Around 23.84% of incoming flights and 21.1% going out were affected by delays last year.

LaGuardia Airport: Passengers traveling through or to New York should prepare to face a struggle, as LGA comes in at 3 on the list. It’s part of the largest airport system in the country, and the second-largest in the world. So with traffic, comes delays and hair-pulling — 27.82% of flights arrived late last year and 22.49% took off after their scheduled departure time.

Newark Liberty International Airport: Congratulations, New Jersey — Newark is the innermost circle of hell when it comes to connecting flights. One in three flights, or 33.28% arrived late there last year, and 27.03% lifted off in an untimely manner.

We’re getting stressed just thinking about it.

For more info on the other airports who can’t get the hang of taking off and landing down, check out the source link below.

Worst Airports for Connections []


Edit Your Comment

  1. Coffee says:

    Since I don’t travel for business, getting to my destination ASAP isn’t terribly important to me. If I must take a connecting flight, I usually give myself a two-hour window to avoid small delays affecting me. Patience and a good book go a long way toward making travel less stressful.

  2. GrayMatter says:

    How many flight connections are actually made in Fort-Lauderdale? The others are real hubs.

    • Yomiko says:

      I have seen flights from Alabama or Indianapolis back to Manchester (NH) which connected through Orlando. That was Southwest. Also, I am thinking that flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, or South America may go through Florida.

  3. j2.718ff says:

    What’s an airport system?

    “[LaGuardia is] part of the largest airport system in the country, and the second-largest in the world.”

    • demeteloaf says:

      I assume “airport system” refers to a group of airports that all serve the same geographic location.

      Newark/La Guardia/Kennedy is NYC’s airport system

      National/Dulles/BWI is Washington DC’s airport system

      Heathrow/Gatwick/London City is London’s airport system. etc.

      • Quake 'n' Shake says:

        More importantly, under the same management. In the case of LaGuardia/JFK/Newark, they’re all under the auspices of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

        • demeteloaf says:

          Don’t think that’s the case.

          In order to classify NYC as the world’s #2 busiest airport system, you need to classify London as #1. And London doesn’t have all its airports under the same management.

          • Round-Eye §ñ‰∫∫„ÅØ„Ç≥„É≥„Çπ„Éû„É™„ÉÉ„Çπ„Éà„ÅåÂ•Ω„Åç„Åß„Åô„ÄÇ says:

            Technically, I think you may be correct. But Consumerist isn’t necessarily quoting some international standards or statistics agency. In terms of total flights into/out of a region/city, London with Heathrow, Gatwick, and London City is most likely number one, while LaGuardia, Kennedy, and Newark come in number two. The management isn’t necessarily a factor in total flights.

          • Quake 'n' Shake says:

            This is a list of US Airports. International status were not taken into consideration.

          • Quake 'n' Shake says:

            I mean “International aiports.” The weirdest typos occur when you get interrupted.

    • huadpe says:

      Pretty sure that refers to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey which operates LGA, JFK, and EWR.

  4. MutantMonkey says:

    I know that any time I am flying out of LGA and it’s after 12pm, my flight is either going to be late, I will be sitting in a 20 plane line to take off or both.

    I’ve just been staying an extra night and taking off first thing in the morning as of late.

  5. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    It’s no coincidence that 8 of the 10 (including the entire top 7) have something in common.

  6. cromartie says:

    Any list of terrible flight connections that doesn’t include O’Hare is a gigantic FAIL. I refuse to fly through it anymore, because no airline can reasonably get in and out on time. At all. Ever. A terrible airport that should be blown up and built over again, as should LGA.

  7. sherrietee says:

    I would have bet money it would have been O’Hare. I’ve had more problems with that airport than any other. Hell, when my son graduated from boot camp, we flew into Milwaukee just to avoid O’Hare.

  8. HowardRoarksTSquare says:

    No shock PHL is on the list, the only shot you ever had getting out of there on time was the first flight in the morning . As the day went on the queue got longer and longer.

    “Ladies and gentlemen we are preparing to taxi. We are number 37 in the queue and will be in the air in 30-45 minutes. But don’t you dare get up until the fasten seat-belt sign turns off or you’ll be on the no fly list”

    • tbax929 says:

      I fly home to Philly at least once a year and have never had a flight delayed more than a few minutes at PHL.

      I will, however, say that the employees in that airport are some of the rudest service people I’ve ever met. The TSA agents are nasty as well. As much as I enjoy visiting home, I really hate that airport.

  9. iesika says:

    How did Phoenix not make this list? I was routed through there in December. I was told that to make my connection (which was boarding in about 15 minutes) I would have to leave the secure terminal, take a bus, then go through security again at a new terminal – along with virtually everyone who had just gotten off of the plane with me, and everyone else who was trying to fly somewhere for the holidays. Needless to say, the lines were a bit…crowded.

    • Quake 'n' Shake says:

      Were you changing airlines or switching to/from an international flight? Those are the only reasons to change terminals at Sky Harbor. It’s a hub for both USAirway and Southwest. All their flights (domestic) fly in and out of Terminal 4. Once past security, there’s no need to go back out, let alone take a bus.

  10. dosdelon says:

    So basically just avoid the East Coast…

  11. eeelaine says:

    “I don’t believe this list – [Insert airport that I missed a connection at once] did not make the list. Ridiculous!”

    In my case, Atlanta!

  12. Steve says:

    Ohare has to be on any such list. If you fly in from a small airport (e.g. Msn) you will usully be delayed if its late morning on – especially if the weather is bad. Well either drive to Milwaukee, or catch the bus to ohare. This usually ensures we’ll get where we’re going plus usually save money.

  13. MrObvious says:

    O’Hare is the worst airport in the world, avoid it at all costs.

  14. giax says:

    How come LHR and ORD aren’t on that list? Those make my top 2 for worst connections, as in prepare to have 3 hours on each, or you’ll miss your connection.

    • SharkD says:

      As cozy as our two countries were during the Bush/Blair years, I am not shocked that the U.S. Department of Transportation omitted LHR from their list of the 10 worst U.S. airports for flight connections.

  15. Lisa W says:

    O’Hare should have definitely topped the list. I had to buy a cheesy airport hoodie because I got stuck there so long and it was cold.

  16. TasteyCat says:

    When I was in Newark, my main concern was how disgusting the bathrooms were.

  17. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I have to fly through O’Hare in August. TO GET TO LOS ANGELES. Isn’t that stupid? The alternative was stupid Allegiant, which would not have got me there until like 10 pm, thus losing precious time with my honey, who is going too (we’re attending a meetup of our chat room). I have flown through there in the past with little trouble; I pray that the same will be true this time. Coming back, I’m going through Dallas. I tried to do that going out but it would have cost me $85 more. :(

    Usually I fly to AZ through Denver or Dallas, depending on which one is cheaper. I try to allow a bit of time between legs just in case there are any problems. The longest I ever got stuck was in Atlanta, because of mechanical problems. It only cost me two hours, though. Could have been much worse. Usually I have no trouble getting through that one.

  18. JiminyChristmas says:

    I have one experience with Newark, but I would put it in my top 5 worst airport experiences. Not only was I getting a connecting flight through Newark, but I went through customs there. Going through customs there was one of the most disorganized cluster$#%^s I have been through in my life. I was totally amazed when both I and my checked luggage made it home together on time.

  19. pamelad says:

    Miami International is my worst airport experience. Ever. I was on a business trip, checked a bag, then they lost it before I got onto the plane for the return trip. They wouldn’t let me onto the plane because I supposedly had a bag not in my possession and had not been checked.

    It’s a large airport. They had me running back and forth for four full hours, non-stop (no exaggeration) trying to retrieve the bag in order to board the flight. Sorry, I couldn’t get to Miami International Airport‚Äôs lower bowels to try to find my bag and prove it was mine and that they lost it before I could board.

    None of the airport or airline clerks provided any help at all.

    They kinda figured it out and let me board the last flight out. By that time, I was so hungry and thirsty, and I hadn’t had time to eat or drink. Grabbed some water, and I guess they held up the plane 30 seconds for me. I was the last passenger on board of that late-night flight. My ticket had been for an afternoon one.

    When I arrived back at my hometown airport: No surprise, they had lost my bag with my most expensive business clothes in it. To their credit, they did find the bag a couple of days later and delivered it to my home free of charge.

    Don’t fly with me! I have bad luck with airlines.