Thanksgiving Week Storms Bring Headaches, InsureMyTrip Ranks Airports

Last updated on 03/28/2023

WARWICK, R.I., Nov. 25, 2019 -- As Thanksgiving week begins, travelers are now bracing for storm activity nationwide. One storm battered the East over the weekend, and another one will lash the Midwest. A third weather system is expected to move through the West sometime mid-week. While the weather forecast may change over the next few days, many holiday travelers will likely be impacted, with the potential for weather-related flight delays and cancellations.

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.

Data Summary:

  • 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 the latest round of storms which grounded over 1,000 flights.
  • 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).
  • Flights scheduled for departure between 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm are more susceptible to delays and cancellations.

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

Ranking 2019 — City/Airport

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

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 U.S. airport research data, 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.

Danny DeMello
[email protected]

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SOURCE InsureMyTrip