America's worst (and best) airports for flying on schedule

Tourists flock to New York for its unique sights and rich cultural life. Flying out of LaGuardia Airport isn't one of them. 

The flight hub last year had the highest rate of flight cancellations, at 3.2 percent, among the 25 busiest airports in the U.S., according to an analysis of Department of Transportation data by InsureMyTrip, a site that offers information on travel insurance. 

A survey last year by J.D. Power based on passengers' experience also found that LaGuardia, located in New York's Queens borough, is the country's lowest-rated large airport. The facility came in dead last out of 21 airports in its category.

In fairness, the high rate of flight cancellations at LaGuardia, which is undergoing a much-needed modernization program, owed less to construction and detours than another reason: bad weather. A massive winter storm last year brought snow, flooding and hurricane-force wind gusts to the Northeast coast and was a contributing factor in a surge of flights getting grounded at LaGuardia. That storm also likely helped land the area's other major airports, Newark Liberty International and JFK International, in last year's top seven for cancellations. 

But weather isn't the only airport demon. A December power outage contributed to a spike in cancellations at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, which for the first time in five years canceled more flights than Chicago O'Hare International.

Here's a rundown of the seven major U.S. airports that had a cancellation rate of 2 percent or more in 2017.

  1. New York's LaGuardia: 3.23 percent of 93,326 flights.
  2. Houston's George Bush Intercontinental: 2.73 percent of 129,271 flights.
  3. Florida's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International: 2.7 percent of 90,078 flights.
  4. New Jersey's Newark Liberty International: 2.57 percent of 115,968 flights.
  5. New York's JFK International: 2.2 percent of 94,454 flights.
  6. Boston's Logan International: 2.12 percent of 125,456 flights.
  7. Washington, DC's Reagan Washington National: 2 percent of 74,408 flights.

Arriving, departing on time

While most scheduled flights aren't canceled, many of those that do lift off are delayed, and LaGuardia had fewer flights arriving and departing on time in January than most other major airports, according to DOT statistics released Thursday.

Roughly 70 percent of flights at LaGuardia and Boston's Logan International arrive on time, the worst record among the busiest U.S. airports. At the other end of the spectrum, Utah's Salt Lake International Airport had the most flights arriving on time, at more than 88 percent.

Departures are a slight different story. Chicago's Midway International Airport had the worst record in January -- just under 70 percent of flights at the city's second-biggest hub (after O'Hare International Airport) leave on time.

As with arrivals, the West Coast fared better than the East when it came to taking off on time. Portland International Airport had the highest rate of on-time departures, followed by Washington state's Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.