New research by low fares business travel specialist Lets Fly Cheaper (LFC) suggests it may pay to stay away from the busiest U.S. airports and fly to or through less crowded airports instead.
LFC’s new “Top 10 Best U.S. Airports for Business Travelers” list rates airports within the continental United States on their number of cancelled flights and delayed flights within the past 30 days.
LFC has determined the nation’s 10 best airports for business travelers are:
1. Rochester International (ROC)
2. Richmond International (RIC)
3. Buffalo/Niagra International (BUF)
4. Port Columbus International (CMH)
5. Memphis International (MEM)
6. Indianapolis International (IND)
7. Pittsburgh International (PIT)
8. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (CVG)
9. Nashville Metropolitan (BNA)
10. Lambert-St. Louis (STL)
Westchester County (HPN)
Bradley International (BDL)
Hancock International (SYR)
*Departure information only, no arrival statistics available.
The latest Lets Fly Cheaper airports list identifies the U.S. airports with the best records of flights not being delayed or cancelled. To arrive at their ratings, LFC tallied the total number of cancelled flights (arrivals + departures) and the total number of delayed flights (arrivals + departures). LFC then rated each airport based on two scores. The LFC cancelled flight score is the mean number of flight cancellations in the past 30 days (arrivals + departures divided by two). The LFC delayed flight score is the mean of the delayed arrivals and delayed departures for each airport.
In addition to ranking the top 10 airports based on these scores, Lets Fly Cheaper acknowledged three other airports for Honorable Mention based on their low rates of cancelled and delayed flights. However, only departure flight statistics, not arrival flight statistics were available for these three airports (Bradley International in Windsor Locks, CT, Westchester County, NY and Hancock International in Syracuse, NY). LFC was unable to calculate average scores.
“We always look at travel variables from the perspective of the business traveler. What’s most important to this traveler is getting to their destination on time. Accordingly, all Lets Fly Cheaper “worst” and “best” lists are compiled with this criterion in mind,” said Ramon van Meer, Lets Fly Cheaper marketing director. “For this Top 10 airports list we chose to focus on domestic airports only. Once again, we rated each airport on the #1 issue we believe business travelers care about most: Reliability of planes taking off and arriving on time.”
LFC’s intent is to offer the business traveler the best possible deal on their domestic business travel. This includes assessing and prioritizing multiple options for air carrier, route, and ticket price. Equally important is selecting the traveler’s airports for departure, arrival and connections. “The best airport is not necessarily the obvious airport,” noted van Meer. “For example, if your destination is the metropolitan D.C. area, you might consider using Richmond (RIC) instead of the substantially more congested Dulles. If you are going to the New York City area, especially anywhere north or northeast of Manhattan, check out Westchester County Airport as an alternative to urban giants JFK, LaGuardia or Newark. Bradley International is a convenient choice for destinations anywhere in New England. It’s centrally located near Hartford, Connecticut. Bradley is much easier to get in and out of than Logan in Boston.”
The latest LFC findings also suggest several alternatives for connecting flights for cross-country travel.
“Business travelers might consider one of the smaller Midwest airports like Port Columbus (CMH) or Cincinnati (CVG) or even Memphis (MEM) or Nashville (BNA) as more time-efficient alternatives to (for example) O’Hare, which has more incoming and outgoing flights but also 10 times the number of delays and 10 times the number of cancellations as the winners on our Top 10 Best Airports list,” suggested van Meer.
He concluded, “What our research suggests is that bigger is not always better. Smaller, less busy airports may actually be a smarter choice for savvy business travelers. They depend on on-time flights to get to their meetings on time and to get home on time. Accordingly, we are pleased to highlight some of the lesser known but solid performing airports on our Top 10 U.S. Airports for the Business Traveler list for August 2012.”
The Lets Fly Cheaper “World’s Worst Airports for Business Travelers” findings are based on flight cancellation and delay statistics from flightstats.com as pulled August 9, 2012.