BWI Marshall ranks among America’s worst airports for timely departures

WASHINGTON — If you’ve ever had a bad holiday travel experience at BWI Marshall Airport, you’re far from alone. According to a new ranking, it’s one of the least reliable airports in the country when it comes to staying on schedule.

In a list of best and worst airports for holiday delays, BWI Marshall ranked 10th out of the nation’s 50 busiest airports for lowest percentage of on-time flights. The ranking analyzed 10 years of flights departing from Dec. 20 to Dec. 31.

During that time, only around 68 percent of flights departing from BWI Marshall reached their destinations on time. About a tenth of flights were outright canceled, which puts BWI Marshall at 25th in the country for holiday flight cancellations.

The least reliable day for smooth travel at BWI Marshall during December holidays, analysts said, is Dec. 27.

While Reagan National Airport fared significantly better in departure delays, with 74.7 percent of on-time departures and an overall rank of 37th, it proved slightly less reliable when it came to outright cancellations. According to, 3.2 percent of holiday flights analyzed were canceled — a relatively small percentage out of hundreds of flights each day, though still seventh in the country for most holiday cancellations.

Dulles International Airport came in at 24th for most delays (71.2 percent of departures on-time), and 16th for overall cancellations (2.4 percent).

The worst in the country: Both of Chicago’s airport hubs, with Midway taking the first slot and O’Hare a close second, both with about 61 percent of flights arriving at their destinations on-time. Newark airport, one of America’s least popular travel hubs, ranked third at 62.2 percent.

Hawaii, meanwhile, is living up to its reputation as an island paradise: Honolulu and Maui airports had the most reliability out of all 50 analyzed. About 84 percent of departures at those airports ended up arriving on-time. Mahalo!

View the full list of results at

Best and worst airports for on-time departures during the holidays, from 2008 to 2017. (Courtesy
Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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