Food, Travel and Tech

These are the best and worst US airports for holiday travel 

Holiday traveler with Santa hat looking at departure board at airport.
Thierry Roge | Reuters

While it might be the most wonderful time of the year for things like hot chocolate and gift-giving, it's not so much for traveling.

With winter weather and hundreds of millions of travelers, the holidays are a prime time for crowded airports and delayed or canceled flights. That can mean lots of wasted time and money — a 2017 study found that the average American traveler surveyed spent $141 while killing time at the airport.

Some airports, however, fare better than others for holiday travel, according to a new report from personal finance site Magnify Money.

The report analyzed 10 years of Department of Transportation flight data, ranging from 2008 to 2017, for the 50 busiest U.S. airports for travel dates spanning from Dec. 20 to Dec. 31 each year. It looked at flight delays at those airports for those travel dates, defining a flight delay as one that arrived at its destination 15 minutes or more behind schedule, or one that was canceled altogether.

Magnify Money found that Chicago airports in particular are plagued with delayed and canceled flights, in fact, the worst airport for on-time holiday travel is Chicago's Midway airport, with Chicago's O'Hare airport snagging the second place spot. Meanwhile, the two best airports for on-time holiday travel can be found in Hawaii; the best airport goes to Honolulu, and the second best is the Maui airport.

These are the top 10 worst airports for holiday travel, according to Magnify Money, with the 10-year average percentage of flights departing the airport that arrived at their destination on-time, and the 10-year average percentage of flights that were canceled.

1. Chicago, Illinois: Midway International Airport (61.5 percent on-time, 3.2 percent canceled)
2. Chicago, Illinois: O'Hare International Airport (61.6 percent on-time, 4.7 percent canceled)
3. Newark, New Jersey: Newark Liberty International Airport (62.2 percent on-time, 4.5 percent canceled)
4. Denver, Colorado: Denver International Airport (64.1 percent on-time, 1.9 percent canceled)
5. New York, New York: John F. Kennedy International Airport (64.8 percent on-time, 4 percent canceled)
6. Houston, Texas: William P. Hobby Airport (66 percent on-time, 1.4 percent canceled)
7. Oakland, California: Oakland International Airport (66.1 percent on-time, 0.9 percent canceled)
8. Cincinnati, Ohio: Cincinnati Municipal Airport (66.2 percent on-time, 4.3 percent canceled)
9. Salt Lake City, Utah: Salt Lake City International Airport (67.5 percent on-time, 1.1 percent canceled)
10. Baltimore, Maryland: Baltimore-Washington International Airport (68 percent on-time, 1.7 percent canceled)

These are the top 10 best airports for holiday travel, according to Magnify Money, with the 10-year average percentage of flights departing the airport that arrived at their destination on-time, and the 10-year average percentage of flights that were canceled.

1. Honolulu, Hawaii: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (84.2 percent on-time, 0.5 percent canceled)
2. Maui, Hawaii: Kahului Airport (83.7 percent on-time, 0.7 percent canceled)
3. Fort Myers, Florida: Southwest Florida International Airport (77.2 percent on-time, 1.7 percent canceled)
4. Tampa, Florida: Tampa International Airport (76.5 percent on-time, 1.1 percent canceled)
5. San Antonio, Texas: San Antonio International Airport (76.5 percent on-time, 1.1 percent canceled)
6. New York, New York: LaGuardia Airport (76.4 percent on-time, 4 percent canceled)
7. Austin, Texas: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (75.9 percent on-time, 1.1 percent canceled)
8. Orlando, Florida: Orlando International Airport (75.7 percent on-time, 1.1 percent canceled)
9. Charlotte, North Carolina: Charlotte Douglas International Airport (75.7 percent on-time, 1.2 percent canceled)
10. Miami, Florida: Miami International Airport (75.5 percent on-time, 1.2 percent canceled)

You can find Magnify Money's full study here.

Don't miss: These are the hottest travel destinations for 2019, from Savannah to Singapore

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

VIDEO1:1401:14
Kevin O'Leary's go-to holiday gift


Holiday traveler with Santa hat looking at departure board at airport.
Thierry Roge | Reuters
make it

Stay in the loop

Sign Up

About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

CNBC.COM