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The Worst Airlines to Fly on Memorial Day Weekend

A new report analyzed Memorial Day weekend travel data from the past five years.

This Memorial Day weekend is gearing up to be one of the worst travel weekends of the year, with AAA estimating as many as 42.3 million Americans going somewhere 50 miles or more.

Airline tickets are especially expensive this time of year. But even if the price hasn't dissuaded you from heading to the airport, delays, cancellations, and other aviation issues could intensify stress levels—especially if you're dealing with an airline or airport historically known for bad delays.

A new report published by Price4Limo analyzed Memorial Day weekend travel data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics over the past five years to suss out which airlines are likely to give travelers the most grief this weekend. There have been an average of 164,237 flights on holiday weekend and some airlines and airports were more consistent in their delays than others.

Allegiant Air was found to be the worst airline to fly during Memorial Day weekend, with the most departure delays at 22 percent. The company already has a bad reputation in terms of flexibility for change fees and rebooking, so if you're worried about being a victim of an Allegiant Air delay, read over their customer service plan to ensure you're fairly accommodated for the inconvenience. 

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For Allegiant delays, the airline offers "meal vouchers for use inside the airport" for flights delayed three hours or more, hotel accommodations or reimbursing passengers for accommodations, and ground transportation in the event of an overnight delay, and/or rebooking them on the next available flight. All of these options, of course, are dependent on whether or not the reason for the delay is "within Allegiant's control." 

Frontier Airlines came in a close second with 21 percent average departure delay, followed by Jet Blue at 20 percent.

In terms of which airports will likely be more chaotic this holiday weekend, the report found Puerto Rico's Luis Muñoz Marín International (SJU), Texas's Dallas Love Field (DAL), and Texas's Houston Hobby (HOU) typically have the most delayed departures. 

According to Simple Flying, Frontier Airlines has expanded its routes to reach more cities in Puerto Rico as of May 4. So if your Memorial Day weekend plans include a trip to San Juan on a Frontier flight, cross your fingers and hope your trip isn't part of the historic delay patterns.

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The report's research also found that the best day to fly for Memorial Day was the Saturday before, when an average of 86 percent of flights were on-time. Interestingly enough, the worst day to fly for Memorial Day was found to be the Monday before, with an average of 79 percent of flights leaving on time.

Overall, flight delays average at 15 percent for Memorial Day weekend, and the report found that only about two percent of flights were canceled outright. Whether this year's increase of travelers and staffing shortages affect those statistics remains to be seen. Chances are if you're traveling by air this weekend, you'll likely get to where you're going, just a little later than planned. 

Katka Lapelosova
Kat is a born and raised New Yorker exploring the world as she writes, eats, and everything in between. Read more
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