Holiday Travel: Which Airports are the Most Reliable?

Traveling during the holidays is a necessary evil for many of us. Some are lucky enough to have family live in the same city —or a neighboring one — and their travel times are basically nonexistent. Then, there are the unfortunate bunch who had to nail down their air travel plans months ago to make sure they’d arrive home in time for the holidays. Air travel is always stressful during the winter holidays, but nothing incites frustration and rage more than a delayed or cancelled flight.

Some airports make flying a breeze; where all you really have to do is show up, board the plane, grab an inflight beverage and relax; others make it a living, breathing nightmare. Delayed and canceled flights are all part of the traveling game, but not every airport is created equal. This infographic created by Mint crunches the numbers provided by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics on winter holiday travel from 2003 to 2011 to find out which airports are the least headache inducing, and which are most likely to find you hanging out in the airport bar, wandering the terminal, browsing the magazine racks, or having your chair kicked by an unruly child who’s as tired of waiting for their flight as you are.

As defined by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the winter holiday starts the third Wednesday in December, and ends on the first Tuesday in January. If you’re flying from Houston (IAH) you’re looking at some smooth flying – 79% of the flights are on time, only 20% are delayed and 1% are cancelled. The same can’t be said if you plan on flying through San Francisco (SFO), which has a dismal record of getting passengers to their destinations unscathed by delays and cancellations. 63% of the flights going through SFO are on time, 34% are delayed, and 3% are cancelled.

Click here or the graphic below for a full-sized view.


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