Worst U.S. Airport for On-Time Arrivals. Departures Aren’t Much Better

The verdict came in the beginning of February. Newark Liberty International Airport has the worst record of airports in the U.S. for airplanes arriving on time. Only a third of them pull up to the gate when the schedule says. The departures, although, not the worst, aren’t much better.

Blame it on the same thing that ails doctors, I say. When I read the reasons for the off-schedule comings and goings, it reminded me of how you can show up for a doctor’s appointment exactly when your name is to be called and still have time to get through two or three magazine articles before you’re ushered into the examination room only to wait some more.

See, Newark shares air space with John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports (also on the bottom of the on-time barrel) so during busy times of the day, which means all day for these three, airlines have too many planes scheduled to take off and land at times that are too close together.

Bad weather in places like Denver and Atlanta can also influence Newark air travel. This photo, taken in January and posted on Flickr by Kevin, tells the truth of this travel woe story. Because airlines are opting to fly more smaller jets, this means more take offs and landings. Therefore, if one thing goes wrong there is a chain reaction. Like when you are at the doctor’s office and the receptionist says, “Oh, by the way, there was an emergency at 10 AM.” You look at the clock and don’t say, “But, it’s 4 PM now.” Instead, you sit back down and flip to another article.

If arriving on time is important, head to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport. Its record for on-time arrivals is the best. If heading overseas, fly out of Salt Lake City to leave when the schedule says. Otherwise, if Newark is your desination or point of departure, remember to bring a good magazine and don’t watch the time.