Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey has been named the most miserable airport in the United States, according to a report by MilesCards.com released on Wednesday.
The travel site, which compares credit cards that offer frequent flyer miles, published its annual report ranking airports in the U.S. by delays for the summer flying season. MilesCards.com analyzed Department of Transportation data for the 50 busiest airports for each summer since 2010, and ranked airports based on everything from on-time arrivals, the wait time between the plane leaving the gate and actually taking off, how long it takes to get a taxi, and what is called the “Misery Score.”
The site gave Newark airport the dubious honor of having the highest score, a “misery index” of 95 on a scale of 1 to 100. The analysis covered flights during the summer months from 2010 to 2015.
“Newark is the most miserable airport for summer travel with a Misery Score of 95, earned by the lowest on time ranking, being among the 5 worst for waiting to take off, and in the 10 worst for getting to the gate after landing. New York – La Guardia, Chicago O’Hare, and New York – Kennedy each followed closely with a Misery Score of 94.”
Thanks for a lovely few hours, New Jersey. And now for the final flight of the day… @ Newark Liberty Int'l Airport pic.twitter.com/6Kpw2bQA4U
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) May 27, 2016
On average, only 68.4 percent of flights flying into Newark arrived on time, according to the report, giving it the lowest on-time ranking. It also had one of the longest wait-times for takeoff, and one of the slowest times for arriving at the gate after landing. All this wait time is even without the waits at security checkpoints, which have drawn criticism from from New Jersey members of Congress and forced federal lawmakers to have the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) hire more screeners.
“If you’re flying into the New York City area, you have a better chance of arriving on time at Kennedy Airport than at Newark,” Brian Karimzad, director of MileCards.com, said to NJ.com. “You might want to consider a drive to Philadelphia.”
Some of the problems plaguing Newark are likely due to its status as the largest hub airport in the Northeast of the U.S., which services many smaller cities, and, therefore, experiences a great deal of air traffic and has a greater chance of flight delays. Travel and Leisure noted that this is not the first time the East Coast airport has faced criticism.
“T+L readers called it one of the worst in the country for—you guessed it—’miserable check-in and security lines.’ Things were already starting to look a little glum for summer travel this year, in part because of the outrageous security lines extending for three hours or more. But keep in mind that June is always the worst month on the calendar for flight delays at U.S. airports, thanks to thunderstorms and the massive influx of travelers.”
— Lisa Evers (@LisaEvers) May 23, 2016
The “least miserable” airports on the list were notably all on the West Coast, including the international airports in San Jose and Sacramento in California, and in Portland, Oregon. San Jose and Portland were the least miserable for summer travel, with Misery Scores of 11 and 12, respectively. Newark and San Francisco were the worst airports for flight delays, with San Francisco experiencing frequent fog delays and Newark facing congestion and thunderstorms.
Now for the good news: the data suggests both airports are improving. Analyzing the data for summer 2015, Newark improved to 71.5 percent rate of on-time arrivals while San Francisco improved to a 75.2 percent on-time arrival rate.
The Port Authority had no immediate comment on the study. According to MilesCards.com, June is the worst month for delays at U.S. airports, with an estimated 75.4 percent of flights arriving on time during the month, as opposed to 83.9 percent during the best month, September.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]