By Quentin Fottrell
You may want to seriously reconsider your travel plans if you were thinking of booking a flight out of Newark Airport in New Jersey anytime soon. But there’s good news too for travelers: the larger JFK Airport was absent from the Top 10 list of delays at airports. Of the 100 most-delayed flights over the past year, 40 of them originate at Newark, according to data compiled for Scott McCartney and “The Wall Street Journal” on Thursday by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Delta Airlines, which earned brownie points as the second airline after Spirit to refund uncollected federal taxes to customers this week, had the highest percentage of delayed flights — 60.2% for its 4pm Newark-Altanta flight during the evening rush hour when air traffic tends to be most congested. Anthony Black, a spokesman for Delta, tells Pay Dirt that flight is No. 2 and No. 3 based on Department of Transport data with Southwest at No. 1. He says it’s systematic issue at Newark. (A Southwest spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.)
Two notable absences from the Top 10 delays: JFK Airport and JetBlue, which has a hub in JFK. (A 2010 study by Flight Stats ranked American Airlines at JKF as No. 3 on a list of delays with 30% of flights delayed.) But George Hobica, founder of AirFareWatchdog.com, says JFK is good for domestic travel – if you know when to fly. “Unless there’s a weather problem, JFK has become a less congested airport.” He flies through JFK for domestic flights, and tries to fly early. “It’s an international airport, so the bulk of the departures are from 4pm onwards.”
And one notable inclusion for Hobica: Southwest was No. 3 on the list of delayed flights for its 7.55pm flight from Dallas Love Field to Kansas City and No. 6 for its 7.25pm flight from New York La Guardia to Chicago Midway. Hobica says Southwest – which built its model around smaller airports – is now using bigger airports. “It’s paying the price,” he says. Southwest now has more domestic flights than any other carrier. Steve Hozdulick, Southwest’s senior director of operational services, tells the WSJ that sometimes given busier slots when flights are reshuffled.
Pay Dirt readers, do these results come as a surprise?