When “CANCELED” appears in red next to your flight number, dread or panic ensues. Whether you’re en route to your vacation destination or headed home after a good time, a canceled flight can cause serious damage to your travel plans.
Even worse, weather-related cancellations mean that the airlines won’t reimburse for travel expenses, like meals and hotels. Cancellations for maintenance aren’t much better, because even if the airline pays for your hotel room, you still incur losses for prepaid, nonrefundable portions of your trip. If you miss the cruise boat or don’t make it in time for the safari, you could be out of luck.
In an effort to help travelers make the best decisions, Insure My Trip released a list of airports with the most cancellations in 2018. Severe weather was the cause of many of the year’s flight cancellations, and in fact, all of the following airports are located on the Eastern seaboard. Here are the six U.S. airports most likely to cancel your next flight.
LGA: LaGuardia, New York
New York’s LaGuardia Airport took the number one spot two years in a row for the highest percentage of flight cancellations. However, this may just be bad luck instead of poor management. Winter Storm Grayson, a large blizzard that hit the city in January 2018, attributed largely to the high rate of canceled flights. Still, New York is no stranger to rough storms, so this is a trend that could continue.
ORF: Norfolk International, Virginia
Norfolk International's high cancellation rate may also be related to weather and location. This Southeast hub canceled many flights for two days in September 2018, when Hurricane Florence was on the move toward Virginia. In total, 3,630 flights were canceled thanks to Flo, with airlines like Southwest and Allegiance canceling all air travel in and out of the airport.
CHS: Charleston AFB/International, South Carolina
Hurricane season in the south did a number on travel in and out of Charleston AFB/International in South Carolina. Both Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael are associated with the airport's high percentage of cancellations. As a result of Michael’s devastation in October 2018, United Airlines canceled all Charleston flights over a three-day period, although they did waive the change fee for new ticketed flights.
ROC: Greater Rochester International, New York
The fourth busiest airport in New York, Greater Rochester International is much smaller than the other airports on this list. But with only three runways, 22 gates and no “international” flights to speak of — Air Canada discontinued service last year — Rochester is still a bustling hub, with five major airlines offering non-stop flights. However, the region’s volatile weather, from heavy snowstorms to dangerous winds, is a contributor to the high cancellation rate.
PHL: Philadelphia International, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia International is a major hub in the east, with seven terminals and 15 airlines operating out of the airport on a daily basis. While the layout of PHL has a good reputation — no monorail is needed to travel between terminals — it retained the fifth highest percentage of flight cancellations in 2018. This is mostly due to nasty winter storms that caused major flight disruptions in both January and March.
EWR: Newark Liberty International, New Jersey
A major hub for New Jersey and New York, Newark Liberty International had a rough winter in 2018. Suffering from four winter storms in the span of three weeks, travelers out of Newark were undoubtedly frustrated. In fact, a spring snowstorm in March prompted the airport to cancel 80% of its flights. Mass cancellations like this can be the cause of much turmoil and misery, as many travelers find themselves stranded and out-of-luck.