The most & least reliable airports of 2019

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The most & least reliable airports of 2019

Delays are a common occurrence when it comes to flying. Weather, air traffic and staffing issues can all affect flights. While the airline is sometimes to blame for cancellations or delays, the airport can also be the culprit.

“Every airport has a capacity of the number of planes per hour that it can accept,” said Robert Mann, president of R.W. Mann & Company, an airline consulting firm. “It’s the excess of demand that drives up delays. It’s crazy they haven’t developed a better system by now.”

Some airports are more reliable than others. We looked at on-time arrival and departure data at the 30 largest airports in America from the first six months of 2019 to learn which were the most and least reliable. Each ranking includes the best and worst airlines to fly with.

Want to learn more? Check out the Policygenius Airline Index to learn which airlines are the most and least reliable to fly on.

How the airports measured up

Airports are ranked based on the percentage of on-time arrivals. Airline reliability is based on the percentage of on-time arrivals. Data is from the Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Report

1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 84.1%
Largest airline: Delta Air Lines Network
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (86%)
Least reliable airline: JetBlue Airways (71.1%)

2. Salt Lake International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 83.3%
Largest airline: Delta Air Lines Network
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (86.4%)
Least reliable airline: American Airlines Network (70.4%)

3. Portland International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 82.6%
Largest airline: Alaska Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (85.6%)
Least reliable airline: Hawaiian Airlines Network (59.4%)

4. Detroit Metro Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 82.4%
Largest airline: Delta Air Lines Network
Most reliable airline: Alaska Airlines Network (89.4%)
Least reliable airline: JetBlue Airways (68%)

5. Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 81.8%
Largest airline: Delta Air Lines Network
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (84%)
Least reliable airline: JetBlue Airways (66.1%)

6. Baltimore-Washington International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 80.5%
Largest airline: Southwest Airlines
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (85.3%)
Least reliable airline: Frontier Airlines (70.1%)

7. Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 80.4%
Largest airline: American Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (83.6%)
Least reliable airline: Frontier Airlines (67.7%)

8. Miami International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 80.3%
Largest airline: American Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (82.4%)
Least reliable airline: Frontier Airlines (69.4%)

9. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 79.5%
Largest airline: American Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Hawaiian Airlines Network (83.5%)
Least reliable airline: JetBlue Airways (69.2%)

9. Dulles International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 79.5%
Largest airline: United Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (83.2%)
Least reliable airline: JetBlue Airlines (71.4%)

11. Philadelphia International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 79.2%
Largest airline: American Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (82.1%)
Least reliable airline: JetBlue Airways (70.3%)

12. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 79.1%
Largest airline: Alaska Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (82.9%)
Least reliable airline: Hawaiian Airlines Network (54.5%)

13. Tampa International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 78.5%
Largest airline: Delta Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Alaska Airlines Network (88.6%)
Least reliable airline: JetBlue Airways (69.7%)

14. Los Angeles International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 78.4%
Largest airline: American Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: United Airlines Network (81.1%)
Least reliable airline: Frontier Airlines (71.1%)

15. San Diego International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 78.3%
Largest airline: Alaska Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Allegiant Air (84.5%)
Least reliable airline: Frontier Airlines (67.2%)

16. John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York
Percent of on-time arrivals: 77.7%
Largest airline: Delta Air Lines Network
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (80.3%)
Least reliable airline: Hawaiian Airlines Network (64.8%)

17. McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas
Percent of on-time arrivals: 77.6%
Largest airline: Southwest Airlines
Most reliable airline: Hawaiian Airlines Network (84.4%)
Least reliable airline: Frontier Airlines (66.8%)

18. Orlando International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 77.3%
Largest airline: Southwest Airlines
Most reliable airline: Alaska Airlines Network (84.7%)
Least reliable airline: Frontier Airlines (71.2%)

19. Ronald Regan Washington National Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 77.2%
Largest airline: American Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Alaska Airlines Network (83.8%)
Least reliable airline: Frontier Airlines (71.9%)

20. George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston
Percent of on-time arrivals: 77%
Largest airline: United Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Spirit Airlines (80.9%)
Least reliable airline: Frontier Airlines (66.3%)

21. Dallas Love Field Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 76.8%
Largest airline: Southwest Airlines
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (83.7%)
Least reliable airline: Southwest Airlines (76.5%)

22. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 76.6%
Largest airline: JetBlue Airways
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (82.4%)
Least reliable airline: Allegiant Air (68.2%)

23. Denver International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 76.3%
Largest airline: United Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (83.3%)
Least reliable airline: Allegiant Air (62%)

24. Chicago Midway International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 76%
Largest airline: Southwest Airlines
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (83%)
Least reliable airline: Southwest Airlines (75.5%)

25. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 73.7%
Largest airline: American Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Alaska Airlines Network (82%)
Least reliable airline: Frontier Airlines (66.6%)

26. Boston Logan International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 72.6%
Largest airline: JetBlue Airways
Most reliable airline: Alaska Airlines Network (78.9%)
Least reliable airline: Hawaiian Airlines Network (66.5%)

27. Chicago O’Hare International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 71.7%
Largest airline: United Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Spirit Airlines (74%)
Least reliable airline: JetBlue Airways (62%)

28. San Francisco International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 69.7%
Largest airline: United Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Delta Air Lines Network (74.2%)
Least reliable airline: Frontier Airlines (59.4%)

29. LaGuardia Airport in New York
Percent of on-time arrivals: 69%
Largest airline: Delta Air Lines Network
Most reliable airline: Spirit Airlines (71.4%)
Least reliable airline: JetBlue Airways (65.1%)

30. Newark Liberty International Airport
Percent of on-time arrivals: 65%
Largest airline: United Airlines Network
Most reliable airline: Allegiant Air (88.9%)
Least reliable airline: Southwest Airlines (59.5%)

Want to learn more? Check out our comprehensive airline-by-airline guide to fees, bumping and more.

How travelers can prepare

Travelers can’t always control the circumstances that cause delays or cancellations. One of the best ways to ensure a timely departure and arrival? Fly earlier. The likelihood of delays typically increases throughout the day, said Mann.

“Delays tend to accumulate and later flights are pushed back to accommodate,” he said. “On the other hand, flights at the end of the day are typically held because the airline doesn’t want to offer overnight accommodations.”

You can also make the rest of the vacation smoother by preparing financially.

  • Make a vacation budget. Estimate how much your vacation will cost, and plan accordingly. Think through all the activities you want to do while on vacation and budget them in. We have a handy vacation spreadsheet to help you get started.
  • Get travel insurance. It can financially protect you when the unexpected happens on your trip, in addition to providing health coverage and emergency aid.

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Image: Claudio Schwartz Purzlbaum