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America's Best and Worst Airports for Delays

America's Best and Worst Airports for Delays:

Courtesy of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

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Weather. Traffic. Traffic due to weather. Shep Hyken has heard all the usual excuses for flight delays, especially when he’s in Chicago.

“I have more delays at O’Hare than any other airport,” says the St. Louis–based customer service consultant. The most maddening explanations, he adds, are almost surreal. “It amazes me when a flight attendant or captain can’t be found,” he says. “I’ve even heard, ‘We’ve lost the plane.’”

No surprise, O’Hare is contending with the likes of Newark and Dallas–Fort Worth to be the most-delayed airport in the nation, according to Department of Transportation statistics (July 2012 through June 2013).

Most major airports reported some increase in delayed departures—defined as leaving at least 15 minutes late—and a few airports got seriously caught in the time-space continuum.

To boost your odds of leaving on schedule, we looked at the airports’ hour-by-hour stats to find the most punctual time frames and the best times to avoid.

Resourceful travelers, meanwhile, have learned to game the system. Virginia-based travel blogger Becky Pokora says she schedules super-tight connections in O’Hare, knowing they’ll likely get stretched out. “It hasn’t backfired yet,” she says.

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