2019 Thanksgiving Travel Report: Least Stressful U.S. Airports

Last updated on 03/28/2023

WARWICK, R.I., Nov. 21, 2019 -- To help empower travelers to make more informed decisions when it comes to holiday travel, researchers at InsureMyTrip reveal which airports tend to cancel flights more than others and how the latest data trends can aid travelers when comparing travel insurance benefits.

Bad weather is always a concern for the nation's busiest airports. Based on data collected for 2019 thus far, researchers at InsureMyTrip ranked airports prone to flight cancellations and also provide guidance on how the latest data trends can aid travelers when comparing travel insurance benefits.


  • Hawaii airports are considered the least stressful followed by Salt Lake City (SLC) and Atlanta (ATL).
  • InsureMyTrip predicts New York's LaGuardia (LGA) will no longer be most stressful for travelers this 2019 Thanksgiving. LGA has improved its cancellation rate this year. The airport previously reported the highest percentage of canceled flights in the country for both 2018 and 2017 (winter storms a factor).
  • Chicago airports have endured a rough patch with on-time performance issues. Chicago O'Hare International (ORD) and Chicago Midway International (MDW) are currently experiencing the highest cancellation rates in the country, based on available 2019 data. Those numbers don't yet include last week's snow storms which grounded over 1,000 flights.
  • Flights scheduled for departure between 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm are more susceptible to delays and cancellations.
  • If a flight is canceled, most airlines will rebook travelers on the next available flight at no additional charge. However, airlines are not required to reimburse travelers for losses incurred as a result of a canceled flight.

This is the list of the least stressful airports this Thanksgiving, based on flight cancellation rates:

Ranking 2019 — City/Airport

  1. Honolulu, HI: Daniel K Inouye International (LOWEST)
  2. Kahului, HI: Kahului Airport
  3. Salt Lake City, UT: Salt Lake City International
  4. Atlanta, GA: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International
  5. Boise, ID: Boise Air Terminal
  6. Portland, OR: Portland International
  7. Spokane, WA: Spokane International
  8. San Juan, PR: Luis Munoz Marin International
  9. Seattle, WA: Seattle/Tacoma International
  10. Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis-St Paul International
  11. Detroit, MI: Detroit Metro Wayne County
  12. Anchorage, AK: Ted Stevens Anchorage International
  13. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles International
  14. Santa Ana, CA: John Wayne Airport-Orange County
  15. Fort Myers, FL: Southwest Florida International
  16. Miami, FL: Miami International
  17. Las Vegas, NV: McCarran International
  18. Albuquerque, NM: Albuquerque International Sunport
  19. Tucson, AZ: Tucson International
  20. Phoenix, AZ: Phoenix Sky Harbor International
  21. Sacramento, CA: Sacramento International
  22. Fort Lauderdale, FL: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International
  23. Reno, NV: Reno/Tahoe International
  24. Austin, TX: Austin - Bergstrom International
  25. San Antonio, TX: San Antonio International
  26. Tampa, FL: Tampa International
  27. Houston, TX: George Bush Intercontinental/Houston
  28. Ontario, CA: Ontario International
  29. San Diego, CA: San Diego International
  30. New York, NY: John F. Kennedy International
  31. Washington, DC: Washington Dulles International
  32. San Jose, CA: Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International
  33. Cincinnati, OH: Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International
  34. Raleigh/Durham, NC: Raleigh-Durham International
  35. Nashville, TN: Nashville International
  36. West Palm Beach/Palm Beach, FL: Palm Beach International
  37. Charlotte, NC: Charlotte Douglas International
  38. Knoxville, TN: McGhee Tyson
  39. Orlando, FL: Orlando International
  40. Louisville, KY: Louisville Muhammad Ali International
  41. Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh International
  42. Denver, CO: Denver International
  43. New Orleans, LA: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International
  44. Oakland, CA: Metropolitan Oakland International
  45. Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville International
  46. Hartford, CT: Bradley International
  47. Omaha, NE: Eppley Airfield
  48. Oklahoma City, OK: Will Rogers World
  49. Indianapolis, IN: Indianapolis International
  50. Columbus, OH: John Glenn Columbus International
  51. Boston, MA: Logan International
  52. Kansas City, MO: Kansas City International
  53. Memphis, TN: Memphis International
  54. San Francisco, CA: San Francisco International
  55. Richmond, VA: Richmond International
  56. Birmingham, AL: Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International
  57. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland-Hopkins International
  58. St. Louis, MO: St Louis Lambert International
  59. Providence, RI: Theodore Francis Green State
  60. Milwaukee, WI: General Mitchell International
  61. Charleston, SC: Charleston AFB/International
  62. Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia International
  63. Washington, DC: Ronald Reagan Washington National
  64. Baltimore, MD: Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall
  65. Dallas/Fort Worth, TX: Dallas/Fort Worth International
  66. Norfolk, VA: Norfolk International
  67. Grand Rapids, MI: Gerald R. Ford International
  68. New York, NY: LaGuardia
  69. Dallas, TX: Dallas Love Field
  70. Buffalo, NY: Buffalo Niagara International
  71. Burbank, CA: Bob Hope
  72. Newark, NJ: Newark Liberty International
  73. Houston, TX: William P Hobby
  74. Chicago, IL: Chicago O'Hare International
  75. Chicago, IL: Chicago Midway International (HIGHEST)

This list contains the data for non-stop domestic flights by major air carriers collected in 2019 thus far by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and analyzed by InsureMyTrip.

Flight Cancellation Policies

Flight cancellation policies vary by airline and circumstance. When an airline cancels a flight, most will try to rebook passengers on the next available flight.

Airlines are also not required to reimburse travelers for losses incurred as a result of a canceled flight, such as prepaid, non-refundable:

  • Hotel room
  • All-inclusive vacation or resort
  • A cruise
  • A tour or safari
  • Concert or entertainment tickets

Travelers concerned about protecting any trip expenses should buy travel insurance.

Dealing With Flight Delays

Each airline has its own flight delay policy for passengers waiting at the airport; there are no federal requirements. Travelers concerned about delays should be aware of the following:

  • Generally, early departures are less likely to be delayed.
  • Book a non-stop flight (no stops).
  • When booking, ask the airline about the on-time performance percentage for an individual flight.
  • Closer to departure, check real-time airport data. This will provide timely information on weather concerns or air traffic delays.
  • Be aware of "creeping delays." This is when an airline continues to push back a departure time it can sometimes be extended for hours or lead to a cancellation.
  • If a flight is delayed, try to learn the reason why to better gauge if the flight is in jeopardy of being canceled. Reasons for delays may include maintenance, fueling, crew issues, weather, previous flight with the same aircraft arrived late, causing the present flight to depart late, or security issues.
  • Some flights will be delayed on the tarmac before or after take-off. As a general rule, DOT prohibits flights to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours.

Passengers with departing flights at busier airports should consider travel insurance with robust travel delay benefits.

To schedule an interview with an expert or to request specific research data on U.S. airport statistics, please contact [email protected]


Rankings were based on the flight cancellation rate per airport. Airports on the list also reported 14,000 or more scheduled flights for 2019 thus far. Researchers also noted other factors, like hurricanes and winter storms, led some airports to report a high number of canceled flights earlier in the year.

Julie Loffredi
[email protected]

About InsureMyTrip

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SOURCE InsureMyTrip