Florida Travel

MIA may be stressful, but it’s not as bad as these airports during holiday travel

Thousands of travelers pack Miami International Airport as they wait in line to leave Miami on Thursday, September 7, 2017, three days before Hurricane Irma hit.
Thousands of travelers pack Miami International Airport as they wait in line to leave Miami on Thursday, September 7, 2017, three days before Hurricane Irma hit. cmguerrero@elnuevoherald.com

We love to complain about Miami International Airport. The constant construction. The parking woes. The flight cancellations.

But we’ve been complaining too much, according to a new study of the most stressful U.S. airports during the holiday travel season by InsureMyTrip Research, a Rhode Island-based authority on travel insurance.

Miami isn’t even among the 10 most stressful airports in the country. (Perhaps researchers didn’t take State Road 836 to the airport, since construction work on the expressway is closing lanes and ramps in and around the airport this week of the holiday season.)

Miami ranked No. 14 out of 20 surveyed airports, with 1,695 departing flight cancellations in 2017. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is No. 9 on the list.

Using previously reported data during 2017, InsureMyTrip predicted Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will be the No. 1 headache as it has had 3,918 cancellations — and that’s not even counting the 1,000 canceled flights due to Sunday’s massive power outage. Those numbers have not been collected yet, the company said.

Atlanta airport outage 1218
The lines were long in the North Terminal waiting for the security checkpoint on Monday Dec. 18, 2017 at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the day after a massive power outage brought operations to halt. John Spink TNS/Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Rounding out the Top 5 most stressful airports during the holidays are: Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport with 3,505 departing flight cancellations, Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (3,481), San Francisco International Airport (3,057) and New York’s LaGuardia Airport (2,886). Fort Lauderdale topped Miami with 2,371 cancellations.

No. 20 was Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina with 1,220 cancellations.

Weather is the main reason for flight cancellations (yay, Miami, given it hasn’t snowed here in more than 40 years). Weather led to 45,008 delayed or canceled flights among the airports surveyed in 2017, InsureMyTrip reports. Air carrier, national aviation system issues — such as non-extreme weather conditions, airport operations, heavy traffic volume and air traffic control — and security were the other reasons.

Worried about delays? Experts suggest leaving early. Early-morning departures are less likely to be delayed. Book a nonstop flight, if possible.

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