Predicting flight delays during the busy summer travel season -- when inclement weather can throw airline schedules off for days -- is difficult at best.
But there are several factors to take into consideration if you have some flexibility in your travel schedule. Crowded flight schedules, as well as the airspace above, causes many airports to be routinely plagued by delays, no matter what the weather, according to a recent survey at Forbes.com.
The accessible slide show singles out the 10 most delay-prone U.S. airports, according to average delays they reported to the federal Department of Transportation over the past three summers.
This data shows that the worst cities to fly through in the summer include New York, Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas, Boston and Atlanta. In most cases, two thirds of the flights landing at international airports in these cities are routinely late.
To make matters worse, major airports in several of these cities, including New York, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Chicago, are undertaking massive renovation projects which could cause unforeseen delays. (Even though spokespersons at most of these facilities deny that there will be problems.)
Officials are also redoing roads around several major airports, including Newark's Liberty International Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which could snarl traffic for those attempting to catch a flight.
The airports singled out in Forbes' investigation coincide somewhat with a recent survey by J.D. Power Associates, which asked passengers to report their satisfaction with U.S. airports based on six measures including, airport accessibility, baggage claim, terminal facilities, check-in, food and retail outlets, and security check.
Not all of them matched, however. Passengers responding to the J.D. Power survey most disliked some airports that are not routinely plagued by delays including Dulles, Mineta San Jose, and Los Angeles international airports.
So how can travelers avoid delay-prone airports? In many cases, especially if you're taking an international flight, it's impossible to stay away from facilities where many connections take place, including those in New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas.
But air traffic controllers who work at many of these facilities put their heads together and compiled airport-specific tips to help ease headaches for travelers who must pass through their concourses.
For example, if you're going through New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, where they're redoing the longest runway, fly early in the day, controllers suggest. If you must pass through Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport try to do so on Saturday or Sunday morning, they advise.
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