If you plan on flying for the holidays, first off, I am very, very sorry (especially if you are visiting in-laws). You should be exempt from having to purchase any gifts and everyone you know should be giving you an extra present. Second, if you are flying for Christmas then you should probably check out these lists of the best and worst airports, airlines and days for Christmas travel.
By compiling data from the last five years, the fine folks over at Elite Fixtures have been able to create this little guide to help make your holiday travels as painless as possible.
Based on percentage of delays, cancellations, and the average delay time, the worst airport to travel through this time of year is… William P. Hobby Airport in Houston. With an average of 42% of their flights being delayed, 1.3% cancelled completely, and an average delay of 46 minutes, this is definitely somewhere to avoid this holiday season.
Oakland International Airport came in as the second worst (42% of flights delayed, but only 0.6% actually canceled), followed by Chicago Midway International Airport (40% of flights delayed, 2.7% cancelled), Denver International Airport (39% of flights delayed, 2.1% cancelled, 57 minute average delay) and Dallas Love Field Airport (37% of their flights being delayed, 16% cancelled).
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the best airport for Christmas travel is Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu with an average of just 12% of flights being delayed. However, since, I assume, no one in their right mind would actually be leaving Hawaii to go somewhere way less cool for the holidays here are the rest of the top 5 best airlines for Christmas travel: Charlotte Douglas International Airport (20% delayed), Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (20% delayed), Pittsburgh International Airport (21% delayed) and Detroit Metropolitan Airport (21% delayed).
As far as the best and worst airlines for Christmas travel, the numbers shook out like this…
Topping the list of worst airlines to fly around the holidays was Southwest Airlines with an average of 39% of flights being delayed. Southwest was followed by Frontier Airlines (38% of flights delayed), Spirit Airlines (33%), JetBlue Airways (32%), and United Airlines (31%).
On the positive side, here are the best airlines to flying when traveling for Christmas: Hawaiian Airlines (just 7% of flights delayed), Alaska Airlines (14%), Mesa Airlines (20%), Delta Airlines (20%), and Endeavor Air (22%).
With that out of the way, now all that is left is to determine which days are the best to do some holiday flying and which are the worst.
The worst dates to fly, according to Elite Fixtures’ number-crunchers, are December 27th and 23rd (34% of flights delayed), the 29th and 26th (33%) and 22nd (32%).
And in a bit of a shocker, it turns out that December 25th (AKA Christmas) is actually the best day to fly (just 18% of flights delayed). It was followed by the 31st (21%), 24th (22%), and the 18th and 19th (26%), as the best days for Christmas travel.