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How do Houston airports rate when it comes to flight delays?

If you're flying over the holidays, you should read this story first!

HOUSTON — HOUSTON - Millions of people will head to the airport to spend the holidays with loved ones, but thousands of them won’t arrive on time.

KHOU 11 News crunched the numbers for nearly 1.5 million domestic flights between November and January of last holiday season. From that data we analyzed 50 airports and 10 airlines with the most flights.

Our raw data was compiled by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Airports with the most delayed departures and arrivals:

  • Chicago Midway International 46.28 percent
  • Newark Liberty International 42.19 percent
  • Dallas Love Field 39.16 percent

Houston airports delayed departures and arrivals

  • George Bush Intercontinental 22.83 percent
  • William P. Hobby 36.11 percent

George Bush Intercontinental Airport ranks among the best when it comes to the percentage of delayed departures and arrivals. They’re No. 48 out of the 50, delaying less than one in four flights.

However, William P. Hobby Airport is No. 10 with delays for 36 percent of flights.

“At Hobby what you have to understand is there are fewer gate options,” said Houston Airport System PIO, Bill Begley. “So, if there’s a dela, it’s going to have a more significant impact.”

Many delays aren’t caused by individual airports. IAH and Hobby Airports work closely with air carriers to make up time for late arrivals like boarding passengers quickly, efficient construction and scheduling airport improvements around peak travel season.

“One of the things we’ve done is open a new terminal here (IAH) in terminal C in partnership with United,” said Begley. “So, we try to make sure we’re prepared that we are fully staffed that those projects are taken care of or at least to the point where they’re not going to impede movement so that we’re not slowing them down because our facilities aren’t ready.”

Best days to travel

  • Wednesday 70.53 percent on-time arrival
  • Thursday 70.25 percent on-time arrival
  • Saturday 69.88 percent on-time arrival

Carriers with lowest percentage of delayed flights

  • Delta 24.35 percent
  • Alaska 25.67 percent
  • United 26.15 percent

Carriers with highest percentage of delayed fights

  • JetBlue 45.26 percent
  • Frontier 40.86 percent
  • ExpressJet 36.88 percent

Paul Hudson started Flyersrights.org, an airline passenger advocacy group that tracks flight delays. https://flyersrights.org/

“Essentially, what the airline is saying in their contracts of carriage which is your ticket is we’ll do our best but there’s not guarantees of anything,” said Hudson.

Hudson says if you’re stuck in an airport this holiday travel season, you can demand an involuntary refund to get your money back and take alternate transportation.

Worst days to travel

  • Friday 64.68 percent on-time arrival
  • Monday 65.27 percent on-time arrival
  • Tuesday 68.03 percent on-time arrival