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10 Airports Americans Should Avoid This Holiday Season

As the holidays approach, Americans are getting ready for their annual trips to celebrate with friends and family around the country. As a result, travel through airports over Thanksgiving and Christmas is predicted to be busy. While there are many tips and tricks for avoiding the chaos that comes with traveling during peak times, one of the most effective is avoiding the chaos altogether.

While you may be able to drive to your destination, that isn’t feasible for every traveler. If you can’t drive, however, you may be able to save yourself a headache by choosing a different airport to fly into or out of.

San Francisco Airport

But Luckily, InsureMyTrip has researched which airports are the most likely candidates for poor performance over the holiday season. By examining data from 2019 to 2021, the travel insurance company was able to come up with a list of the top 10 airports Americans should avoid over the holidays to evade flight delays and cancellations. Below we’ve listed each with their chance of delay. If there are any alternative airports nearby, excluding local airports, we’ve highlighted those as well.

10) Gerald R. Ford International (GRR) | Grand Rapids, MI

  • Chance Of Delay: 18.7%
  • Nearest Airport: Capital Region International Airport (LAN) in Lansing, MI – 62 miles from Grand Rapids, MI
Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport Building Exterior

9) Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International | Fort Lauderdale, FL

  • Chance Of Delay: 19.2%
  • Nearest Airport: Miami International Airport (MIA) in Miami, FL – 35 miles from Fort Lauderdale, FL

8) San Francisco International | San Francisco, CA

  • Chance Of Delay: 19.3%
  • Nearest Airport: Oakland International Airport (MIA) in Oakland, CA – 21 miles from San Francisco, CA

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San Francisco International Airport

7) Hollywood Burbank (BUR) (Also Called Bob Hope Airport) | Burbank, CA

  • Chance Of Delay: 19.5%
  • Nearest Airport: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, CA – 29 miles from Burbank, CA

6) El Paso International (ELP) | El Paso, TX

  • Chance Of Delay: 19.7%
  • Nearest Airport: Technically, the nearest airport is across the border and is Abraham González International Airport (CJS) in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico – 11 miles from El Paso. However, crossing into Mexico to catch a flight may come with its own inconveniences.
El Paso Airport

5) Nashville International (BNA)| Nashville, TN

  • Chance Of Delay: 19.8%
  • Nearest Airport: Huntsville International Airport (HSV) in Huntsville, AL – 124 miles from Nashville, TN

4) Luis Munoz Marin International (SJU)| San Juan, Puerto Rico

  • Chance Of Delay: 21.1%
  • Nearest Airport: Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport (VQS) in Vieques, Puerto Rico – 60 miles from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico Airport San Juan

3) Palm Beach International (PBI)| West Palm Beach, FL

  • Chance Of Delay: 21.7%
  • Nearest Airport: FLL is the closest airport (51 miles away), but seeing as that is in this top 10 list, Miami International Airport (MIA) in Miami, FL would be the next best bet– 75 miles from Fort Lauderdale, FL

2) Newark Liberty International (EWR)| Newark, NJ

  • Chance Of Delay: 23.6%
  • Nearest Airport: LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in New York, NY – 29 miles from Newark, NJ.
Newark Airport

1) Ted Stevens Anchorage International (EWR)| Anchorage, AK

  • Chance Of Delay: 27.2%
  • Nearest Airport: The closest alternative airport is in Kenai, AK, 158 miles away, and is Kenai Municipal Airport. This is probably not a feasible alternative for most travelers flying into or out of Anchorage.
Anchorage Alaska Airport

Tips For Navigating The Holidays

While it may not always be possible to avoid an airport altogether, there are several things you can do to prepare for the business of the holidays that will help lessen your chances of succumbing to travel troubles. Although it is easier said than done, try to control the things you can control and accept the rest.

  • Minimize Your Chance Of Lost Luggage: Bright tags, air tags, and other tips can be found in this article.
  • Know What To Do If Luggage Is Lost: Act fast and confidently; read more here for help navigating a lost luggage situation.
  • Download Your Carrier’s App: Up-to-date delay announcements and gate changes are quickly updated, and some carriers even offer baggage tracking.
  • Have A Backup Plan: If the worst should happen and your flight is canceled, it’s good to have a plan to fall back on.