Headed out of town soon? FinanceBuzz, a personal finance site recently released its study of the 10 worst airports for late travelers, with Newark International Airport topping the list. Also included are the 10 best airports, those where you’re most likely to make your flight even if you are running behind.
“There are two types of air travelers: those who think arriving at the airport any later than a full three hours before their scheduled flight time is ‘cutting it close’ and those who calculate the absolute latest they can arrive and still make it to their gate before the final boarding call,” said Tracy Odell, VP of content at FinanceBuzz in a FinanceBuzz news release. “This study is for the latter group. We looked at 12 different data points for the nation’s 45 busiest airports. Our analysis revealed the airports where you’re most likely to miss your flight when you’re running late, and also where you have the best chance of making your flight.”
Running late? These are the 10 airports where you’re least likely to make your flight according to the news release:
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
Charlotte/Douglas International Airport (CLT)
Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
Seattle/Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
On the other hand, here are the 10 airports where you have the best chance of making it onto your flight even if you arrive at the airport late:
Hobby Airport (HOU)
Kansas City International Airport (MCI)
Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)
San Antonio International Airport (SAT)
Nashville International Airport (BNA)
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL)
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
If you travel once in a blue moon or every week you know there are many things that can go wrong. From playing catch up once you get to the airport — you oversleep, your rideshare driver is late, to hitting traffic on the way to the airport, it’s rarely ever smooth sailing. Of course, these things can happen to all of us, even those of us who are typically punctual.
Here are some tips to help you make your flight even if you’re running late, according to a FinanceBuzz news release.
1. Get TSA PreCheck or CLEAR
TSA wait times held the most weight in the study, and for good reason. It’s often the biggest obstacle between you and your flight. Fortunately, you can avoid those lengthy and unpredictable lines with TSA PreCheck and/or CLEAR.
Each of these services addresses different parts of the security process — TSA PreCheck speeds up the security process, whereas CLEAR speeds up the ID-checking process — so having both will give you the best chance at catching your flight if time stands against you.
If you don’t yet have PreCheck or CLEAR, many credit cards offer reimbursements for application and membership.
2. Travel with a carry-on only to avoid the check-in lines
If you can check-in online and can trade your checked luggage for a backpack and carry-on, you can head straight for the security line (or CLEAR and TSA PreCheck lines) once you get inside the airport.
Depending on how many people are waiting to check-in or check a bag, this can save you a significant amount of time. Not to mention, you can also save money by avoiding baggage fees.
3. Know what you packed to avoid surprises
If you don’t have TSA PreCheck and are subject to the regular TSA security line, make sure you know what you’ve packed and where it’s located in your carry-on luggage.
Aside from having to remove your shoes, jacket, and belt, you also have to remove any laptops or large electronics and food from your bags. If you place these items in an easy-to-reach location prior to heading to the airport, you won’t waste any precious time trying to fish them out from the bottom of your bag as everyone waits behind you.
You can leave early and do everything in your power to be on time, but there are certain things that are out of your control. Knowing a little bit about the airport you’re traveling can go a long way when you’re staring down the possibility of a missed flight.
FinanceBuzz analyzed 12 different metrics for the 45 busiest airports in the United States (based on total passenger departures for 2018). Factors include TSA wait times, number of departing passengers, on-time departure percentage, number of gates, estimated terminal square footage, and whether the airport offers CLEAR. Each airport received a rating of 1 to 5 for each of the 12 factors, then a weighted average based on FinanceBuzz’s proprietary methodology was calculated.