If your upcoming travel plans include a flight out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport or Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, you might want to charge your electronics and bring a book to read. A new study from personal finance website FinanceBuzz comparing departure delays at the 25 busiest airports in the country ranks DFW and IAH among the worst.
DFW flies high — and not because passengers are going anywhere quickly — on the list as the No. 3 most time-delayed airport in the country, averaging 67 minutes grounded and a collective passenger wait time of 872 years in 2018, according to the study. Overall, 24 percent of DFW Airport flights were either delayed or canceled last year.
At IAH, the only other Texas airport in the study, ranks No. 17, with 72-minute delays on average and passengers collectively spending 393 years waiting there to depart in 2018. Eighteen percent of its departing flights were either delayed or canceled last year.
So why all the delays? At DFW, most of the time (34 percent, to be exact) an aircraft is late. The other reasons include National Aviation System delays (29 percent), air carrier delays (21 percent), aircrafts being canceled or diverted (12 percent), and weather (4 percent). National Aviation System delays refer to issues such as "non-extreme weather conditions, airport operations, heavy traffic volume, and air traffic control," while carrier delays are described as being "due to circumstances within the airline's control," according to the study.
At IAH, National Aviation System delays are the biggest culprit at 40 percent, followed by aircrafts arriving late (27 percent), air carrier delay (20 percent), arriving aircraft canceled or delayed (8 percent), and weather (4 percent).
FinanceBuzz collected its data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which defines a delayed flight as one arriving or departing at least 15 minutes past schedule.
The absolute worst airport for departure delays is Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD), with passengers collectively grounded for 1,133 years in 2018, FinanceBuz says. Tampa International Airport (TPA) sits at the bottom of the list with the least time delayed (264 years collectively).