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Best and Worst Airports for Holiday Travel 2016

Nov. 7, 2016
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Navigating a chaotic airport from just before Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is enough to turn any traveler into a scrooge. But there are some airports that operate so efficiently during the holidays that travelers will arrive with their spirits intact.

NerdWallet determined the 10 best and worst U.S. airports for holiday travel by examining data on delays, cancellations and places to eat at the nation’s 50 busiest airports. The analysis factored in November and December cancellations for the past three years from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics and also restaurant ratings from Yelp reviews. See the full report for a detailed methodology.

The 10 best airports for holiday travel

Each of the following airports boast a flight cancellation rate below 1%. At airports in Honolulu, Atlanta and Seattle, that rate is even lower — less than half of 1%. For context, the average cancellation rate among the 50 busiest airports in the U.S. is 1.24%. The airports below also have among the lowest delay rates and the highest restaurant Yelp scores.

  1. Honolulu International (HNL)
  2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL)
  3. Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX)
  4. Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA)
  5. Miami International (MIA)
  6. Tampa International (TPA)
  7. Portland International (PDX)
  8. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International (MSY)
  9. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FLL)
  10. Logan International (BOS)

The 10 worst airports for holiday travel

Most of the airports below have higher-than-average cancellation and delay rates and among the lowest restaurant Yelp scores.

  1. Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW)
  2. San Francisco International (SFO)
  3. Newark Liberty International (EWR)
  4. Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)
  5. LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
  6. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International (CVG)
  7. Denver International (DEN)
  8. Kansas City International (MCI)
  9. Washington Dulles International (IAD)
  10. Dallas Love Field (DAL)

Read the full report to learn more about the analysis and how credit cards can help you cope with a lousy airport experience.

Laura McMullen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @lauraemcmullen. Courtney Miller is a data analyst at NerdWallet. Email: [email protected].