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Best, Worst Airports and Airlines for Labor Day Travel

If you’re among the projected 16.1 million Americans flying over the Labor Day weekend, you’ve probably already booked your flights and accommodations. You’re committed, and no advice proffered at this late date is going to change your plans. Still, it’s good to know what you’re likely to encounter on your Labor Day travels, if only to prepare yourself mentally.

RewardExpert analyzed DOT data from the past five years at the 45 busiest U.S. airports to identify this year’s likely bottlenecks, as well as the airlines most and least likely to get you to your destination on time.

Here’s what to expect.

On-Time Airlines

Based on past Labor Day data, the airlines’ on-time performance is projected to shape up as follows:

  • Hawaiian 94.3%
  • Alaska 91.7%
  • Virgin America 89.4%
  • Delta 88.4%
  • Frontier 86.6%
  • Southwest 86.2%
  • American 84.9%
  • United 83.3%
  • SkyWest 82.0%
  • JetBlue 81.4%

Plan your visits accordingly.

Best and Worst Airports

While the holiday’s busiest airports will be the usual suspects—led by Atlanta, followed by Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Los Angeles, and so on—what travelers should be concerned with is not so much airports’ passenger volume as their on-time performance.

Here are the five worst airports for on-time flights during the Labor Day holiday:

  • Newark 76.6%
  • LaGuardia 76.7%
  • San Francisco 78.2%
  • New Orleans 80.5%
  • Boston 81.2%

Best and Worst Days

This year’s Labor Day travel period will extend from Wednesday, August 30, until the following Wednesday, September 6.

The two best days to travel, according to RewardExpert, will be the Wednesday before Labor Day, followed by the Sunday and Friday before Labor Day. The Tuesday and Wednesday following Labor Day promise to be the worst travel days, with the most delays and cancellations.

Happy travels!

Reader Reality Check

Will you be flying over the Labor Day holiday?

More from SmarterTravel:

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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