Stats: Forecasting Worst Airports for Holiday Flight Delays

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This past Sunday’s major power outage at the Atlanta airport marks a rough start to what’s shaping up to be a busy Christmas travel week. As a record number of travelers hit the road and take to the skies, AirHelp, an air passenger rights organization and flight compensation company, has released an analysis of hundreds of thousands of flights from the 2016 holiday travel season to help forecast where travelers can expect flight delays and disruptions this year.

The top five most disrupted routes, along with the percentage of flights that were disrupted:

  1. San Francisco to Los Angeles – 52.90%
  2. Las Vegas to Los Angeles – 52.37%
  3. Los Angeles to Las Vegas – 48.28%
  4. Seattle to Los Angeles – 48.12%
  5. Los Angeles to San Francisco – 46.02%

Collectively, AirHelp also found that the Friday leading up to Christmas was the busiest travel day, but some airports experienced their largest crowd on different dates. Below were the top 10 busiest U.S. airports during the travel season, with the most crowded date at each location:


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  1. Atlanta (ATL)– 12/26
  2. Chicago (ORD)—12/23
  3. Los Angeles (LAX)—12/22
  4. Dallas (DFW)—12/22
  5. Denver (DEN)—12/23
  6. Charlotte (CLT)—12/23
  7. Houston (IAH)—12/23
  8. New York (JFK)—1/2
  9. San Francisco (SFO)—12/23
  10. Newark (EWR)—1/2

The busiest travel month in the United States in 2017 was July, unsurprisingly falling on a busy month for tourism. Based on the percentage of disrupted international flights departing from airports around the United States, Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy, experienced the highest volume of flight disruptions, with London City Airport following closely behind.

As the 2017 AirHelp Score unveiled earlier this year, airports in the United States are considered as some of the worst in the world with Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) falling into the worst global airports for their quality and service and the number of delayed flights throughout the period.

Source: AirHelp

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