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D.C. Airports Among Worst for Summer Air Travel

WASHINGTON INFORMER — Summer is here and the time is right for … Amtrak? Greyhound?



Reagan Washington National Airport

Summer is here and the time is right for … Amtrak? Greyhound?

Well, if you’re one who wish to avoid delays, that may be the way to go because Reagan Washington National and Dulles International have been ranked among some of the worst airports for on-time summer travel.

Reagan is the eighth-worst airport for delays in the nation for summer travel, according to a new study issued by

Making matters more difficult for District-area travelers, Dulles trailed only Cincinnati for the worst year-over-year improvements.

Using airport arrival data for the 50 busiest US airports from the U.S. Department of Transportation, officials said they determined which airports tend to suffer the most delays during the summer travel season — which includes the months of June, July and August.

Ten years of monthly data (2009 — 2018) was averaged across seasons and summer months. found that Most of the airports with the worst track records for on-time arrivals have a few things in common.

They’re in the northeastern part of the country:

“All but two of the eight worst airports are found between Washington, D.C., and Boston. That makes for some incredibly crowded airspace in that neck of the woods, and all it really takes is one poorly-timed summer thunderstorm to throw flights off schedule,” according to the study.

They’re among the nation’s busiest:

“The five airports with the worst on-time records all rank among the nation’s 20 busiest airports. Interestingly, however, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport — for many years the busiest airport in the world — had a strong on-time record. Its summertime on-time arrival rate was the 14th best among the nation’s 50 busiest airports,” study authors said.

They’re hubs for major airlines:

“Hubs vary by airline, but the worst offenders in the on-time surveys all serve as hubs for at least one major airline: Newark-Liberty (United), LaGuardia (American, Delta), San Francisco (United), JFK (American, Delta, JetBlue), and Boston (Delta, JetBlue). Being a hub means more traffic going to and from more different places — and a lot more things that can go wrong and cause delays,” the study authors said.

They’re along the coasts:

Nine of the 10 cities with the worst on-time arrival track record in the summertime are either on the east or west coast — only Chicago O’Hare, the sixth worst, isn’t in a state that borders an ocean.

“We grin and we bear it,” said Oliver Robertson, a Southeast, D.C. resident who said he and his family usually take two summer trips per year.

“We know that there will be delays — some longer than others — but we can’t let that stop our plans nor should anyone else,” Robertson said.

Michael Priore, who lives in northeast D.C., said the delays are sometimes interminable.

“I’ve been considering driving this year even though gas prices tend to go up in the summer and even though I’d probably need a few extra days off work, but the crowded airports, especially at Reagan, and then the hassle of going through security and fighting to get to your gate only to find that the flight is delayed or even canceled, is just not worth it anymore,” Priore said.

“There’s also Amtrak and Greyhound,” he said.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

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