Travel Tips

10 (Dreadful) Airports That Will (Subtly) Drain Your Wallet and Your Patience

Airport delays are such a hassle! They’re a waste of time and could cost you money. I once had to fly back to SFO (from LAX) for an important (in-person) meeting with a client and had to reschedule because of a delay. To make a long story short? The client wasn’t very understanding with my situation and chose to go with someone else for the project. I lost money. Airport delays can cost you time and money! For travelers keen on efficient journey planning, understanding which airports have the longest wait times can be crucial. Here is an in-depth look at the U.S. airports where you might face the most significant delays, helping you make more informed decisions about where you fly from or to:

1. Provo Airport, Utah

Airport schedule
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Leads the list with delays averaging nearly an hour and three quarters (1 hour, 42 minutes, and 31 seconds). Despite handling fewer flights, the proportion of delayed flights is remarkably high.

2. Orlando Sanford International Airport, Florida

Waiting at airport gate
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This busier airport sees an average delay of just under 1 hour and 35 minutes (1 hour, 34 minutes, and 53 seconds), impacting a significant fraction of its nearly ten thousand incoming flights.

3. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Texas

Upset waiting at gate
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As one of the busiest hubs, it’s not only the third on this list but also records a high volume of delayed flights, averaging 1 hour, 29 minutes, and 12 seconds per delay.

4. Charlotte Douglas International Airport, North Carolina

Airport delay
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Close behind, with an average delay time of 1 hour, 28 minutes, and 36 seconds, this airport serves as a major connecting hub, affecting numerous passengers.

5. Philadelphia International Airport, Pennsylvania

Waiting at terminal
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Passengers might expect average delays around 1 hour and 26 minutes (1 hour, 26 minutes, and 32 seconds), making it fifth among the most delay-prone airports.

6. John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York

Frustrated traveler
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A key international gateway, JFK sees its share of delays, with average wait times of 1 hour, 24 minutes, and 3 seconds.

7. St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, Florida

Delay at airport
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Another Florida airport makes the list, with typical delays clocking in at just over 1 hour and 23 minutes (1 hour, 23 minutes, and 27 seconds).

8. Montgomery Regional Airport, Alabama

Stranded at airport
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Smaller in scale but significant in delays, the average time is 1 hour, 23 minutes, and 5 seconds.

9. Punta Gorda Airport, Florida

Busy airport
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Travelers here face delays averaging 1 hour, 23 minutes, and 52 seconds, indicative of broader challenges within Florida’s airports.

10. Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Arizona

At ticket counter
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Rounding out the top ten, this one experiences delays of 1 hour, 21 minutes, and 13 seconds. A recent analysis by the travel information site Places to Travel, which examined nearly 2 million flight delays across the U.S. from January 2023 to February 2024, pinpoints the airports with the most delays. This comprehensive study utilized data from the Bureau of Transportation to figure out which U.S. airports have a higher tendency for delays and created a ranking based on this data. Contrary to popular belief, the size of the airport doesn’t necessarily predict its likelihood of delays. “The data doesn’t show a clear trend concerning the size of airports,” notes Jason Wilson, CEO of Places to Travel. He points out that it’s easy to assume bigger airports like San Diego International or Nashville International would have more delays due to more traffic, but that’s not necessarily the case. Surprising Findings on Small vs. Large Airports Interestingly, the study found that the worst offender is one of the smaller airports. Utah’s Provo Airport topped the list with a staggering 39.74% of flights delayed, despite handling only 2,194 flights in the analyzed period. The average delay at Provo was about 1 hour and 42 minutes. However, larger airports are not far behind. Florida’s Orlando Sanford International Airport, a more popular and busier airport, had 28% of its 9,847 incoming flights delayed, with average delays of just under 1 hour and 35 minutes. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Texas also made the top three, with an average delay time of approximately 1 hour and 29 minutes. Notably, it had the highest volume of late flights among the airports studied, with 21.41% of its 308,806 flights delayed by more than 15 minutes. Detailed Insights on U.S. Airports with the Longest Average Delays