How to Avoid Airport Delays

The quickest way to travel these days is by airplane, but it’s inevitable that travelers will be delayed at the airport sooner or later. These airport delays are a source of grief to stressed-out travelers desperate to reach their destination!

Credit: #96 via Flickr

Credit: #96 via Flickr

Many travelers feel helpless when it comes to flight delays, but there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of being stuck at the airport:

  • Fly as early in the day as possible. 
    • Morning flights are more likely to be on time than later flights due to a lack of upstream delays resulting from air traffic congestion or weather. As an added bonus, the early morning flights tend to be cheaper.
Credit: katerha via Flickr

Credit: katerha via Flickr

  • Check WeatherBug before booking your flights. 
    • Thunderstorms are a common cause of flight delays in the summer during the afternoon and evening hours. This is especially true in the Southeast U.S. If you travel between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you are also more likely to encounter a delay based on increased air traffic.
    • Snow, ice and fog are common weather-related causes for flight delays in the winter. Blizzards and ice storms can cripple airports for several days. The Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast are where these storms are most common. Occasionally, winter weather will spoil travel across the southern Plains and the Southeast.
    • Fog is most common along the Pacific Coast, New England, and along the Appalachian Ridge. The interior California valleys, northern Great Lakes, and Gulf Coast are also vulnerable to bouts of fog. Typically, fog will be at its worst during the early morning hours and delay arrivals. Delayed arrivals then lead to increasingly delayed departures later in the day. Boston and San Francisco airports are most likely to see fog-related delays.
WeatherBug on iPad

WeatherBug on iPad

  • Select the right airports. 
    • Certain airports are notorious for being prone to delays. Northeastern air space is particularly crowded, so even the slightest bad weather will create delays at Philadelphia, Newark, La Guardia and JFK airports. Hub airports such as Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and Miami are also vulnerable to congestion-related delays.
San Francisco Airport (SFO) - Credit: Trodel via Flickr

San Francisco Airport (SFO) – Credit: Trodel via Flickr

  • Pick your travel days wisely. 
    • Picking a less congested travel day, such as Tuesday and Wednesday, may help avoid delays. These two days are least popular with both business travelers and pleasure seekers. Thursday and Saturday are secondary options. Another good strategy is to book direct flights whenever possible, or at least pick a flight itinerary with the fewest connections. If possible, avoid traveling during major holidays.
Credit: photosteve101 via Flickr

Credit: photosteve101 via Flickr

For the latest, up-to-date status on delays, check out: http://www.fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/usmap.jsp

 

Travel Safe and Know Before™.

The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team

 

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