Newark, JFK, LaGuardia Airports Worst for Holiday Flight Cancellations, Study Says

The three airports have higher-than-average flight cancellation rates during the holiday season than others across the country

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What to Know

  • Newark, LaGuardia and JFK airports are the worst airports for holiday cancellations, according a study done by
  • The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and December 26 and 27 are the worst days for flight cancellations
  • Nearly 50 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more to see family and friends this Thanksgiving, the most travelers since 2007

Considering the increased number of travelers this Thanksgiving, fliers should prepare for delays, especially if they're traveling to or from one of the tri-states' three major airports.

Of the 50 busiest airports for holiday travel, Newark Airport ranked the worst, with flights nearly three times more likely to be canceled than at other airports. Flights from LaGuardia and JFK have cancellation rates about twice the national average. 

Travelers heading to or from Honolulu and Oakland, California, will be considerably less stressed, as both airports have cancellation rates significantly lower than the rest of the country.

The travel reward agency analyzed the cancellation rates of more than 1.5 million Thanksgiving and December holiday flights nationwide based on data collated from the Department of Transportation from 2010 to 2015.

Arriving early for the holiday is your best bet since flights are twice as likely to be canceled the Wednesday before Thanksgiving than on any other day that weekend.

If you're traveling to or from Greensboro, North Carolina,  call the family and let them know you'll be late for dinner: it's the worst Thanksgiving travel route, with 8 percent of flights canceled. 

Plan ahead for Christmas if you're going from Newark to Pittsburgh or vice versa: nearly 20 percent of flights on this route are canceled during the December holiday. advises fliers to look out for the words 'operated by' and 'DBA' when searching for flights or scanning your itinerary: these are signs you're on a regional carrier, which could mean a significantly higher risk of flight cancellations. Avoid booking with Jet Blue and Spirit, the worst among major airlines during holidays.

Nearly 50 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more to see their loved ones for the holidays this year, a 2 percent increase from 2015 and the highest volume of travelers since 2007, AAA said.

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