Pudong Airport, Shanghai

World’s Worst Airports for Business Travelers

Low fares business class specialist Lets Fly Cheaper (LFC) has compiled its first “world’s worst airports” list of international and domestic airports with the worst records for delayed flights.

LFC culled through several sources to ultimately come up with its own criteria and list of worst performing airports.

“There are tons of year-end worst airports lists out there. Some are based on overall satisfaction, while others focus on details like how easy it is to sleep in the airport,” said Ramon Van Meer, Lets Fly Cheaper marketing director. “We wanted our list to be relevant to our customers, who travel primarily for business, and to our company, which specializes in getting customers the best travel deal, right here, right now.”

“Business travelers live in the moment,” said Van Meer. “They care about making their flight connections today, not whether they could have made them 11 months ago. Their #1 concern is getting to their next big deal on time. Period. That’s why LFC has shortened our time horizon from all year to the past month and focused exclusively on delays, not airport amenities. Our data is based on December 2011 statistics only. This gives us the flexibility to publish new results monthly, if customers find our list useful.”

Lets Fly Cheaper’s 10 worst airports based on delayed departures:

International Airports:

5. Pu Dong, Shanghai

4. Madrid-Barajas, Madrid

3. Charles De Gaulle, Paris

2. Changi, Singapore

1. Capital International, Beijing

Domestic Airports:

5. George Bush Intercontinental, Houston

4. Denver International, Denver

3. Hartsfield-Jackson, Atlanta    

2. O’Hare, Chicago

1. Dallas/Ft. Worth International

Not surprisingly, all “winners” are among the world’s busiest airports. LFC’s international list includes three Asian-Pacific entries and two European entries. Charles De Gaulle is one that appears consistently on almost every “worst” compilation across the board. Yet it only clocks in midway down the LFC list. The “top” honor for most delayed flights – by a margin of almost 2:1 is Beijing, with a whopping 12,864 delayed flights for December.

Domestically, the “usual suspects” that seem to always top other worst lists (Miami, JFK) are notably absent from LFC’s picks for delayed flights. LFC’s list includes two Texas airports, plus three that come as no surprise, given the volume of air traffic they handle.


5. Pu Dong Airport (PVG), Shanghai / Number of Delayed Flights: 5,175

Shanghai Pudong International Airport (sometimes noted as Pu Dong) is the world’s 20th busiest airport and China’s third busiest, hosting over 40 million passengers annually. The airport is a hub for both Shanghai Airlines and China Eastern Airlines.

4. Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD), Madrid / Number of Delayed Flights: 5,448

Madrid-Barajas Airport is an international bridge connecting Europe with Central and South America. The airport serves Spanish carriers, members of Star Alliance and Skyteam Iberia Airlines, as well as international carriers.

3. Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG), Paris / Number of Delayed Flights: 6,731

Charles de Gaulle Airport is Europe’s second busiest airport (after London’s Heathrow). The airport serves international travelers, Air France and other European airlines.

2. Changi Airport, (SIN), Singapore / Number of Delayed Flights: 7,428

Changi Airport in Singapore is the world’s 17th busiest airport serving 100 international airlines to more than 60 countries. The airport handles over 19 million passengers every year. Changi has received the “World’s Best Airport” award from Ultratravel Magazine the last four years.

1. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), Beijing / Number of Delayed Flights: 12,864

Beijing Capital International Airport is the busiest airport in Asia and the second busiest in the world. The airport hosts over 73 million passengers annually with 70+ airlines flying to more than 200 cities worldwide.


5. George Bush Intercontinental (IAH), Houston / Number of Delayed Flights: 4,919

George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston is the eighth busiest airport in the United States and #3 for non-stop domestic and international service. It is also provides service to 30 destinations in Mexico.

4. Denver International (DEN), Denver / Number of Delayed Flights: 5,300

Denver International Airport is the fifth busiest airport the United States and 11th busiest in the world. Denver Airport opened in 1995 and in less than 20 years has become a major transportation hub, handling some 50 million passengers annually.

3. Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL), Atlanta / Number of Delayed Flights: 5,472

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world’s busiest, serving 90 million domestic and international passengers. The airport has spent the last decade making major improvements. The Air Transport Research Society named Atlanta the world’s most efficient airport in 2011. [Note: Considering the tremendous volume it processes, we’d say Atlanta is doing pretty darned well with “only” 5,472 delays for the month!]

2. Chicago O’Hare International (ORD), Chicago / Number of Delayed Flights: 6,817

Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is well known as the second busiest airport in the states. It’s also the world’s fourth busiest. O’Hare is the major hub for United/Continental Airlines. The vast airport has four terminals, with three serving both domestic and international flights and one serving international flights only.

1. Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW), Dallas / Number of Delayed Flights: 7,231

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is the fourth busiest airport in the US and eighth busiest in the world. The airport has five terminals with two dedicated exclusively to serving American Airlines passengers.

Lets Fly Cheaper is a low fare specialist, focused on supplying cheap business class flights to international destinations worldwide.

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