The spring travel season is peppered with many occasions to travel, from spring break to Easter to Memorial Day. To help travelers avoid travel hiccups, RewardExpert – a free service that helps travelers take full advantage of credit card points and travel rewards – released the findings of its 2018 Spring Air Travel Forecastdetermining which airlines, airports and dates are most likely to experience delays between March and May 2018.
“When the first signs of spring pop up after the long cold winter months, Americans across the country start chomping at the bit to get away,” says RewardExpert’s CEO and co-founder Roman Shteyn. “Whether it’s a beach escape, a family gathering, or a special occasion, no one wants to get held up on their way to their destination. This forecast breaks down which dates, airports and airlines to avoid in order to get to where you’re going in a timely fashion. ”
Key findings of the 2018 Spring Air Travel Forecast are:
March is by far the most treacherous month for spring travel. Six of the ten days with the worst average on-time performance, busiest airports and most crowded flights, fall at some point during the month. Avoid flying on March 1st, 12th or 13th, which are historically among the worst days for travel this season, and are expected to be worse this year.
If you’re planning to visit family for Easter or Passover, travel early if you can. Easter Sunday and the first day of Passover, as well as the day before, are more likely than most to feature delays and airport hassles.
Newark’s Liberty International Airport has the worst overall track record for delayed flights, with an average of only 76.84% of flights departing or arriving on-time. Likely suspects, San Francisco, LaGuardia, JFK, and Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports all return to grace the bottom tier of the ranking.
Spring break wreaks havoc on flights to and from Florida during March and April. Expect delayed flights and planes full of college students at all major Florida airports. Southwest Florida Airport in Fort Myers is the least busy airport in May, but handles nearly twice as many flights per day in March than it does in May.
JetBlue has the worst on-time performance overall, coming in dead last, and appears to bear the brunt of the onslaught of Spring Break travelers. The other budget carriers, Southwest and Frontier, unsurprisingly take second and third place for most delayed flights overall.
“The spring travel season can be rather unpredictable, especially as compared to travel during the weeks before and after Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are many more occasions to travel and they tend to fall on different dates every year, like Easter and Passover. Plus, each school has its own week scheduled for spring break,” says Shteyn. “With so many variations in the season, we wanted to provide travelers with a comprehensive forecast of travel patterns. In order to do so, we analyzed five years’ worth of data from the Department of Transportation for every day from March 1st through May 31st, to forecast delays and crowds for each day.”