We all remember that trip on which the flight was late, the person checking you in was rude and you were made to pay extra for a carry-on that was just a little bit heavier than the ever-shrinking weight limit.
Bad airport experiences can happen anywhere, even. at well-regarded airports. Last summer, Toronto's Pearson International Airport, which normally rates high with travellers, earned the dubious title of the worst airport in the world for flight delays.
Flight Delays Often Hit Popular Destinations
There are plenty of airports known for problems within American borders as well.
A new round-up from vacation planning website Family Destinations Guide, looked at flight delay and cancellation data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation and identified Orlando International Airport as the leader when it comes to overall poor travel experience.
The airport that many use on their way to Disney World (DIS) - Get Free Report or Universal Studios saw 3.52% of the 108,330 flights that passed through it in 2022 canceled. Of the remainder, 67.81% arrived on time while 28.24% were delayed.
Next on the list was Newark International Airport. New Yorkers will complain about all three of the city's major airports but, according to the numbers, Newark had a flight cancellation rate of 5.94%. It had, at 95,832 flights in 2022, slightly lower overheard than the ultra-busy Orlando and fared slightly better than Orlando due to the lower number of delays (26.51%).
Given that people will come to Florida for vacations no matter what, its airports face high pressure when it comes to customer experience -- with the exception of Newark, the remaining five worst airports were all located in the state.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Tampa and Miami all had a cancelation rate above 3% as well as high delay percentages. Other airports with high numbers of flight disruptions include Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Chicago's Midway International airport and New York's JFK.
This Is What You Do If Your Flight Is Canceled Or Delayed
Some delays are inevitable thanks to poor weather, or the FAA nationwide groundstop on Wednesday, Jan. 11 due to software problems. But even in the cases of acts of nature, both airports' and airlines' ability to handle disruption becomes crucial to traveler experience.
When snowstorms hit multiple parts of the country on the weekend of December 24-25, most airlines were able to get people stranded where they were going in 24 hours. Southwest Airlines (LUV) - Get Free Report still had more than 60% of its flights across the country cancelled on Dec. 27.
The airline blamed out-of-date software and staff shortages coming out of the pandemic on the problems while the DOT issued a statement saying that it will look into the "unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays and reports of lack of prompt customer service."
For those who do find themselves registered on a flight that has either been canceled or delayed, the first step is always to go to the customer service desk at the airport. If the situation is such that most travelers are affected, travel experts advise trying the airline's Canadian or British number to circumvent the wait on the main one and being flexible when offered an alternate flight or hotel stay.
"If you elect not to be accommodated on a later flight and you book a new ticket out of your own pocket, you are entitled to a cash refund, though that may not help you get to where you need to go," Lousson Smith, product operations specialist at Scott's Cheap Flights, told CNN Travel