Travel Report: US Airports Prone to Flight Delays and Cancellations This Hurricane Season

written by BVM June 4, 2018
US Travel Report. A large jet parked at an airport terminal with walkway attached.

In an effort to help empower passengers to make more informed decisions while traveling during the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season (June-October), InsureMyTrip predicts which US airports are most prone to delays and cancellations and what passengers should know about airline policies.

Summary:

  • Researchers ranked the on-time performance for the busiest airports in the Eastern US, 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 US 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 US during hurricane season.

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

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 was reported during August and September. These months also experienced high storm activity along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast.

MonthArrival DelaysDelayed (%)Flights CanceledCanceled (%)DivertedFlight Operations
January97,69921.71%8,8861.97%1,486450,017
February64,26415.65%6,3121.54%980410,517
March88,63818.14%8,5271.75%917488,597
April92,14319.67%7,3981.58%954468,329
May96,68019.87%4,0390.83%944486,483
June110,71922.40%5,3791.09%1,306494,266
July110,08121.62%5,7571.13%1,555509,070
August104,70920.51%11,0072.16%1,286510,451
September58,91412.84%15,3433.34%791458,727
October69,02714.39%3,3030.69%747479,797
November51,29811.30%1,4180.31%575454,162
December85,30218.38%5,3241.15%989464,205
2017 (Annual)1,029,47418.14%82,6931.46%12,5305,674,621

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.

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