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.
- 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
- Chicago, IL: Chicago Midway International (highest cancellation rate)
- Chicago, IL: Chicago O'Hare International
- Houston, TX: William P Hobby
- Newark, NJ: Newark Liberty International
- Burbank, CA: Bob Hope
- Buffalo, NY: Buffalo Niagara International
- Dallas, TX: Dallas Love Field
- New York, NY: LaGuardia
- Grand Rapids, MI: Gerald R. Ford International
- Norfolk, VA: Norfolk International
- Dallas/Fort Worth, TX: Dallas/Fort Worth International
- Baltimore, MD: Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall
- Washington, DC: Ronald Reagan Washington National
- Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia International
- Charleston, SC: Charleston AFB/International
- Milwaukee, WI: General Mitchell International
- Providence, RI: Theodore Francis Green State
- St. Louis, MO: St Louis Lambert International
- Cleveland, OH: Cleveland-Hopkins International
- Birmingham, AL: Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International
- Richmond, VA: Richmond International
- San Francisco, CA: San Francisco International
- Memphis, TN: Memphis International
- Kansas City, MO: Kansas City International
- Boston, MA: Logan International
- Columbus, OH: John Glenn Columbus International
- Indianapolis, IN: Indianapolis International
- Oklahoma City, OK: Will Rogers World
- Omaha, NE: Eppley Airfield
- Hartford, CT: Bradley International
- Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville International
- Oakland, CA: Metropolitan Oakland International
- New Orleans, LA: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International
- Denver, CO: Denver International
- Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh International
- Louisville, KY: Louisville Muhammad Ali International
- Orlando, FL: Orlando International
- Knoxville, TN: McGhee Tyson
- Charlotte, NC: Charlotte Douglas International
- West Palm Beach/Palm Beach, FL: Palm Beach International
- Nashville, TN: Nashville International
- Raleigh/Durham, NC: Raleigh-Durham International
- Cincinnati, OH: Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International
- San Jose, CA: Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International
- Washington, DC: Washington Dulles International
- New York, NY: John F. Kennedy International
- San Diego, CA: San Diego International
- Ontario, CA: Ontario International
- Houston, TX: George Bush Intercontinental/Houston
- Tampa, FL: Tampa International
- San Antonio, TX: San Antonio International
- Austin, TX: Austin - Bergstrom International
- Reno, NV: Reno/Tahoe International
- Fort Lauderdale, FL: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International
- Sacramento, CA: Sacramento International
- Phoenix, AZ: Phoenix Sky Harbor International
- Tucson, AZ: Tucson International
- Albuquerque, NM: Albuquerque International Sunport
- Las Vegas, NV: McCarran International
- Miami, FL: Miami International
- Fort Myers, FL: Southwest Florida International
- Santa Ana, CA: John Wayne Airport-Orange County
- Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles International
- Anchorage, AK: Ted Stevens Anchorage International
- Detroit, MI: Detroit Metro Wayne County
- Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis-St Paul International
- Seattle, WA: Seattle/Tacoma International
- San Juan, PR: Luis Munoz Marin International
- Spokane, WA: Spokane International
- Portland, OR: Portland International
- Boise, ID: Boise Air Terminal
- Atlanta, GA: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International
- Salt Lake City, UT: Salt Lake City International
- Kahului, HI: Kahului Airport
- 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.
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.
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