Lonely Planet Writer

Here’s how US travelers can avoid delays when flying this spring

Spring is the perfect time to take a vacation – but when every traveler has the same idea, it can lead to big delays at airports. Luckily, a new report from RewardExpert is aimed at helping travelers avoid any major setbacks when flying this spring.

Find out how to avoid delays this spring. Image by oneclearvision/Getty Images

For US travelers, holidays like Easter, Passover and Memorial Day mean there are plenty of reasons – and hopefully some time off work – to book a trip in the spring. The 2018 Spring Air Travel Forecast helps break down which airlines, airports and days are most likely to see delays between March and May, so you can plan accordingly. The findings are based on five years’ worth of data from the Department of Transportation for every day from 1 March through 31 May.

If you can’t wait to take a break, then be aware that March is the worst month for spring travel, as “six of the 10 days with the worst average on-time performance, busiest airports and most crowded flights, fall at some point during the month”. It’s best to avoid flying on 1, 12, and 13 March, as those days are expected to have the worst delays. Naturally, the holidays may give people the time off to travel, but that can also lead to busy airports. Easter Sunday (1 April) and the first day of Passover (30 March) have the potential to see the most delays.

Plan ahead to avoid delays at the airport this spring. Image by ©YakobchukOlena/Getty Images

But whether or not you’ll be affected by the busy travel season also depends on your city of departure. The report found that Newark’s Liberty International Airport has the worst record for delayed flights, with only about 76% of flights departing or arriving as scheduled. Other airports where travelers should plan for potential delays are San Francisco, LaGuardia, JFK, and Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway, according to the report.

Since it wouldn’t be spring without Spring Break, travelers must also be aware that college students will be flocking to airports as they seek out a bit of sun. In March and April, all major Florida airports can be expected to see plenty of students. The report also notes that traveling students could be the reason that budget airlines are so affected by delays. JetBlue came in last for on-time performance, with Southwest and Frontier taking second and third place.

If you’ve got budding travel plans for this spring, check out the full report on the RewardExpert website.