U.S. Airports Prone to Flight Delays & Cancellations This Hurricane Season

Last updated on 03/28/2023

WARWICK, R.I., May 24, 2018 -- In an effort to help empower passengers to make more informed decisions while traveling during the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, InsureMyTrip predicts which U.S. airports are most prone to delays and cancellations and what passengers should know about airline policies.


US Airports Prone to Flight Delays & Cancellations This Hurricane Season

Data Source: InsureMyTrip and The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). Researchers at InsureMyTrip ranked the on-time performance for the busiest airports in the Eastern U.S. during hurricane season.

  • Researchers ranked the on-time performance for the busiest airports in the Eastern U.S., the part of the country that is most impacted by tropical storms.*
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is ranked the best overall for handling delays and cancellations during hurricane season. It is also the busiest.
  • Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, and John F. Kennedy International are ranked the worst overall for delays and cancellations during hurricane season. All three airports are twice as likely to report a weather delay than any other airport on the list.
  • Passengers should anticipate flight disruptions when a storm develops. Nationwide, flight cancellations soared for major U.S. airports in August and September last year due to storms.

This list ranks the overall on-time performance for the 25 busiest airports in the Eastern U.S. during hurricane season.

Rank (Worst) / Airport

  1. Newark, NJ: Newark Liberty International
  2. New York, NY: LaGuardia
  3. New York, NY: John F. Kennedy International
  4. Houston, TX: George Bush Intercontinental/Houston
  5. Washington, DC: Ronald Reagan Washington National
  6. Dallas/Fort Worth, TX: Dallas/Fort Worth International
  7. Fort Lauderdale, FL: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International
  8. Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia International
  9. Boston, MA: Logan International
  10. Baltimore, MD: Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall
  11. Dallas, TX: Dallas Love Field
  12. Orlando, FL: Orlando International
  13. Houston, TX: William P Hobby
  14. Miami, FL: Miami International
  15. Washington, DC: Washington Dulles International
  16. Fort Myers, FL: Southwest Florida International
  17. Raleigh/Durham, NC: Raleigh-Durham International
  18. Austin, TX: Austin - Bergstrom International
  19. Tampa, FL: Tampa International
  20. Charlotte, NC: Charlotte Douglas International
  21. Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh International
  22. Nashville, TN: Nashville International
  23. San Antonio, TX: San Antonio International
  24. New Orleans, LA: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International
  25. Atlanta, GA: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International

Data Source: InsureMyTrip and The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

Tip: Travelers booking flights in-or-out of storm-sensitive airports should consider travel insurance with specific coverage for hurricane-related delays and cancellations.

Peak months for flight cancellations
Peak months for hurricane and tropical storm activity also appears to correlate with a higher number of canceled flights nationwide. For example, the highest percentage of all flights canceled in 2017 were reported during August and September. These months also experienced high storm activity along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast.

Month Arrival Delays Delayed % Flights Canceled Canceled % Diverted Flights
January 97,699 21.71% 8,886 1.97% 1,486 450,017
February 64,264 15.65% 6,312 1.54% 980 410,517
March 88,638 18.14% 8,527 1.75% 917 488,597
April 92,143 19.67% 7,398 1.58% 954 468,329
May 96,680 19.87% 4,039 0.83% 944 486,483
June 110,719 22.40% 5,379 1.09% 1,306 494,266
July 110,081 21.62% 5,757 1.13% 1,555 509,070
August 104,709 20.51% 11,007 2.16% 1,286 510,451
September 58,914 12.84% 15,343 3.34% 791 458,727
October 69,027 14.39% 3,303 0.69% 747 479,797
November 51,298 11.30% 1,418 0.31% 575 454,162
December 85,302 18.38% 5,324 1.15% 989 464,205
2017 (Annual) 1,029,474 18.14% 82,693 1.46% 12,530 5,674,621

When a storm hits an airport, a significant increase in the number of canceled flights is imminent. For example, Hurricane Harvey was the primary cause for nearly 2,000 canceled flights at George Bush International in Houston last August. The airport bounced back once the storm cleared.

Month Flights Canceled Canceled % Flight Operations
May 136 1.18% 11,505
June 77 0.68% 11,298
July 121 1.05% 11,507
August 1,949 17.51% 11,131
September 878 8.97% 9,792
October 23 0.22% 10,608

Data Source: InsureMyTrip and The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

*Airports were ranked by the InsureMyTrip data team. Data combined three years of on-time performance data for the 25 busiest airports (based on volume of flight operations) located in Eastern U.S. On-time performance data included weather delays for airports — including those attributed to extreme weather conditions and delays under the control of the National Airspace System (NAS). Proportion of weather delays to number of flights was also calculated in addition to the overall number of delays and minutes of delays. Researchers also reviewed the percentage of cancellations (domestic arrivals and departures). Data was obtained by the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the agency that tracks the on-time performance of domestic flights operated by large air carriers.

Researchers evaluated on-time data for selected airports during the 2015, 2016, and 2017 hurricane season. The official hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th (Source: NOAA).

Hurricanes and Airline Cancellation Policies
Flight cancellation policies vary by airline and circumstance. When an airline cancels a flight due to bad weather, most will try to rebook passengers on the next available flight.

Airlines are not required to reimburse travelers for losses incurred as a result of a canceled flight, including:

  • Hotel fees
  • All-inclusive vacation or resort fees
  • Cruise payment
  • A pre-paid tour or safari
  • Concert or entertainment tickets

Travelers concerned about protecting any pre-paid, non-refundable trip expenses should buy travel insurance.

Airport Data Analyst:
Danny DeMello
[email protected]

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SOURCE InsureMyTrip