Avoid These Airports if You Want to Arrive at Your Summer Destinations On Time

Avoid These Airports if You Want to Arrive at Your Summer Destinations On Time

European airports are struggling the hardest, but that doesn't mean America is exempt from the slew of travel delays.

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Travelers pass through London’s Heathrow airport in 2021.
Travelers pass through London’s Heathrow airport in 2021.
Photo: Hollie Adams (Getty Images)

Have any of you fine Jalopnik readers been traveling lately? Because, speaking from experience, it’s a little bit of a fucking disaster thanks to massive delays, cancellations, illnesses, and more throwing of one monkey wrench after another into the whole “vacation” thing. If you’re looking for a hassle-free trip, you’ll be hard-pressed to find it these days — but you’re definitely not going to find it at these airports.

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The foundation for this story comes from CNN, which collected data from FlightAware between May 26 and July 19 to see which airports were most likely to have delays or cancellations. We’ve fleshed out that initial reporting with data of our own.

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2 / 19

Orlando International Airport (OIA)

Orlando International Airport (OIA)

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Photo: ZAK BENNETT/AFP (Getty Images)
  • Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
  • Delays: 33.4 percent of flights

Bad news to everyone making a jaunt to Disney this summer: The Orlando Airport, which is normally a real pain in the ass, is only getting worse. Over one-third of flights have faced delays this summer, and there have been more than a few cancellations due to extreme weather since the start of 2022. And it’s not like we’re heading into hurricane season now or anything, either!

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3 / 19

Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD)

Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD)

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Photo: Lisa Maree Williams (Getty Images)
  • Location: Mascot, New South Wales, Australia
  • Delays: 34.2 percent of flights
  • Cancellations: 5.9 percent of flights

One of my personal favorite headlines from this summer’s travel fiasco has come from Australia, which succinctly read: “What the hell.” It’s winter in the land down under, but travel is still going strong as folks head home for winter breaks and catch various illnesses during the country’s flu season. If you’re thinking of going on a marathon trip to Sydney, maybe hold off a bit.

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4 / 19

Athens International Airport (ATH)

Athens International Airport (ATH)

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Photo: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP (Getty Images)
  • Location: Spata, Athens, Greece
  • Delays: 37.9 percent of flights

Athens has been going through it recently. Whether it’s a private helicopter crashing or nearby wildfires, there are plenty of reasons why this particular airport might be struggling to make flights on time — and we can expect many of the weather-related concerns to continue as the summer rages on.

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5 / 19

Munich Airport (MUC)

Munich Airport (MUC)

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Photo: LUDOVIC MARIN/POOL/AFP (Getty Images)
  • Location: Munich and Upper Bavaria, Germany
  • Delays: 40.4 percent of flights

Germany may be known for its punctuality, but record amounts of air traffic have seen crowded airports and delayed flights thanks, in part, to a lack of staff. If you’re waiting on a flight there, though, it could be worse — Munich has one of the best airports in the world.

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6 / 19

Heathrow Airport (LHR)

Heathrow Airport (LHR)

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Photo: PAUL ELLIS/AFP (Getty Images)
  • Location: Hillingdon, London, England
  • Delays: 40.5 percent of flights

Listen. I don’t even know what’s going on in Heathrow right now. Luggage is piling up — including luggage from passengers who had the misfortune of having a small layover at the airport — and strikes have thinned an already meager workforce while heat has melted the tarmac. It’s probably best to steer clear of Heathrow...

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7 / 19

London Gatwick Airport (LGW)

London Gatwick Airport (LGW)

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Photo: Hollie Adams (Getty Images)
  • Location: Crawley, West Sussex, England
  • Delays: 41.1 percent of flights

...But Gatwick isn’t exactly a better option. Demand for travel is so huge that airlines like Emirates are adding more flights to Gatwick, but a tight staffing situation is still leaving passengers lined up for hours waiting to travel. Having just hired 400 new security staff, things could change — but the airport is still advising travelers to pad their travel time, just in case.

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8 / 19

Amsterdam Airport Schipol (AMS)

Amsterdam Airport Schipol (AMS)

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Photo: JEROEN JUMELET/ANP/AFP (Getty Images)
  • Location: Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands
  • Delays: 41.5 percent of flights
  • Cancellations: 3.9 percent of flights

If it’s not a system malfunction that prevents passengers from checking luggage, it’s something else at Amsterdam. Like the airport asking airlines to stop selling tickets through it. Or the airport telling passengers not to arrive too early for flights. Or luggage being stranded there. Or the capacity of the entire airport being cut just before a surge in travel.

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9 / 19

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)

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Photo: ERIC PIERMONT/AFP (Getty Images)
  • Location: Roissy-en-France, France
  • Delays: 43.2 percent of flights

Between strikes and staff shortages, Charles de Gaulle — an already-awful airport — has only become more of a headache for travelers. Just over a month ago, the airport cancelled over 100 flights in a single day due to strike strain, and those numbers could continue throughout the summer.

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10 / 19

Frankfurt Airport (FRA)

Frankfurt Airport (FRA)

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Photo: Thomas Lohnes (Getty Images)
  • Location: Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany
  • Delays: 45.4 percent of flights

Frankfurt Airport operators are already projecting this summer travel mess to last into October, just in case you were wondering when things might start cooling down. The airport is reportedly already squeezing out freighter flights to make room for passenger flights — so if you’re traveling more, you might also be contributing to a strained supply chain. You can’t win!

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11 / 19

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

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Photo: Cole Burston (Getty Images)
  • Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  • Delays: 52.5 percent of flights
  • Cancellations: 6.5 percent of flights

Pearson has been hell on earth long before the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ll never forget showing up to this airport four hours early for a flight and still missing it because of massive delays in bag check, security, and customs lines. Now, with over half of the flights leaving this airport delayed, you might be able to sneak through interminable waits and still make your flight!

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12 / 19

Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (CKG)

Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (CKG)

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Photo: VCG (Getty Images)
  • Location: Yubei District, Chongqing, China
  • Cancellations: 4.6 percent of flights

Between heatwaves and flooding, Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport has had a rocky start to the summer, resulting in several flight cancelations.

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13 / 19

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)

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Photo: STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP (Getty Images)
  • Location: Arlington, Virginia, USA
  • Cancellations: 5 percent of flights

I’ve flown out of Reagan exactly one time. Donald Trump was flying into the airport that exact same day for a campaign rally back in early 2016, so the entire runway had to be shut down. This is not the same reason for the current cancellations, but it was a rocky enough experience that I’ve never flown through again.

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14 / 19

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)

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Photo: STR/AFP (Getty Images)
  • Location: Baiyun-Huadu District, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
  • Cancellations: 5.2 percent of flights

Emirates is adding more flights to this particular airport, despite the fact that Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport sees five percent of its flights cancelled. Both the additional flights and the cancellations are coming down to a flood of travel as China eases COVID-19 restrictions.

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15 / 19

Soekarno—Hatta International Airport (CGK)

Soekarno—Hatta International Airport (CGK)

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Photo: AZWAR IPANK/AFP (Getty Images)
  • Location: Tangerang, Banten, Indonesia
  • Cancellations: 6.2 percent of flights

Like countless other countries, Indonesia has seen a massive influx of travel as global COVID-19 restrictions have eased. The result? A slew of cancelled flights and a growing demand for even more air traffic through the airport.

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16 / 19

LaGuardia Airport (LGA)

LaGuardia Airport (LGA)

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Photo: Spencer Platt (Getty Images)
  • Location: East Elmhurst, Queens, New York, USA
  • Cancellations: 7 percent of flights

LaGuardia has reportedly received a gorgeous overhaul in the past few years, but after once being forced to walk through active construction at this airport to get to the entrance thanks to a disinterested rideshare driver, I do not plan on ever returning.

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17 / 19

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

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Photo: Jeenah Moon (Getty Images)
  • Location: Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA
  • Cancellations: 7.4 percent of flights

I recently spent over nine hours in delays flying out of Newark. Fuck Newark.

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18 / 19

Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport (SZX)

Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport (SZX)

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Photo: Noel Celis / AFP (Getty Images)
  • Location: Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China
  • Cancellations: 7.9 percent of flights

With almost eight percent of flights canceled and a massive amount of cargo transported through the airport each year, the Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport may not be the greatest place to plan a flight. Thankfully, it’s at least a gorgeous airport.

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