America's Most-Delayed Airports

These airports are plagued with constant flight delays, poor on-time records.

ByABC News
October 13, 2010, 4:18 PM

Oct. 14, 2010— -- Airline passengers might have learned to cope with minimal leg room, fees for checking bags, and thorough security screenings.

But nothing is worse than a lengthy delay where passengers are either sitting on a tarmac waiting for 20 other planes to takeoff, or circling and circling until a landing slot opens up. According to the Department of Transportation, (DOT), flight delays so far this year are at their lowest point since 2003 -- 18.7 percent of all flights arrived at the gate 15 minutes or later. But some airports are still routinely plagued by late flights.

Flying in or out of New York is probably going to mean some delays. But what about San Francisco, Miami, Chicago or Boston? Unfortunately, those airport don't fare much better.

"There's no surprise," said Ray Neidl, an airline analyst with the Maxim Group. "You're talking about the biggest cities, the most-congested airspace."

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Airports with the fewest delays during the first eight months of the year were Seattle, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Portland, Ore. and Las Vegas. Each of those cities have relatively good weather, plenty of open airspace for flights to maneuver, and large modern runways.

"A lot of it is airspace," Neidl notes.

When it comes to delays, New York's three airports are perpetually near the bottom of the rankings, although all three showed improvement over last year. Each of the airports fights each other for landing and take-off space, and flights headed for their destination airport often have to circle miles out of their way to avoid planes approaching the other airports.