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Traveling For Thanksgiving? Midway, O'Hare Among Most Delayed Busy Airports

By Kelly Bauer | November 2, 2017 8:42am
 About 20 percent of O'Hare's Thanksgiving flights end up delayed, according to a new report.
About 20 percent of O'Hare's Thanksgiving flights end up delayed, according to a new report.
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DOWNTOWN — Midway and O'Hare airports are among the most delayed of busy U.S. airports during the Thanksgiving travel season, according to a new report from RewardExpert. 

The report found that, during the five days before and after Thanksgiving, about 20 percent of flights are delayed at O'Hare. Midway sees about 19.6 percent of its flights delayed over the same time.

That put Chicago's airports near the very bottom of the rankings, which looked at the 45 busiest airports in the United States.

The best airport for those who wish to skip delays is Honolulu, where an average of 91.48 percent of flights are on time around Thanksgiving, according to the report. The worst airport is San Francisco, where an average of just 75.47 percent of flights are on time.

If you are traveling, RewardExpert expects the best day for catching a flight at O'Hare to be Nov. 24 (the day after Thanksgiving) while the worst will be Nov. 27. Midway's best day might be Nov. 23 — Thanksgiving itself — and its worst day is also expected to be Nov. 27.

A different analysis from last year also ranked O'Hare and Midway as among the most-delayed airports, finding that O'Hare saw flights delayed an average of 10.6 minutes around Thanksgiving, while Midway averaged delays of 17 minutes.

But things have gotten slightly better for Chicagoans: Midway's average for on-time Thanksgiving flights was 80.42 percent from 2011 to 2016, but last year 83.68 flights were on time for Thanksgiving, according to the report. That means Thanksgiving 2016 saw 3.26 percent fewer delayed flights at Midway than on average.

O'Hare also saw a slight bump last year: Its average for 2011-2016 was 79.94 percent of flights being on time, but 81.29 percent of flights were on time during Thanksgiving 2016.

RewardExpert, which helps people find how to use the least miles and money for travel, created the rankings by analyzing government data on airline on-time performance for the five days before and after Thanksgiving.