Avoiding the worst airports this summer

Most seasoned travelers I know have a blacklist—a specific airport (or two) to avoid, no matter what. For me, it's Washington Dulles, added to my list after four years as a D.C. resident. It gets the honor for its lack of direct public transportation options, resulting in a multi-hour journey just to get to the airport itself, and its confusing "moving room" transport shuttles that run between terminals.

Now, though, for the summer season, U.S. News & World Report has published a handy article on airports to avoid at all costs. The magazine's editors came to their findings by analyzing DOT statistics on which airports had "the best and worst combination of delayed planes and crowded flights."

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The top five most miserable airports for summer travel? Detroit, Chicago (O'Hare), Charlotte, New York (JFK), and Newark. Naturally, many of these airports are hubs for one or several major airlines, meaning a high volume of both flights and passengers, which can lead to increased possibilities of snafus. According to U.S. News, you'll be able to avoid some major hassles this summer by seeking out smaller airports, avoiding major hubs for connecting flights, and putting together a good backup plan.

And they've also made recommendations for the top five airports, based on fewest delays and crowd-free flights: Oakland, Houston (Hobby), San Jose, Dallas (Love Field), and St. Louis. Here's hoping there isn't a run on these airports, thus leading to some of the problems the hubs currently suffer.

Of course, you may find yourself stressed and inconvenienced at virtually any airport, and there seem to be no guarantees or plans in the works to alleviate problems with congested summer travel. If you get stuck in an endless line, your flight gets delayed or canceled, or you're confronted with a less-than-helpful airline representative, know you're not alone. Put together your own blacklist, or, to be even more effective, send a complaint where it counts.

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