These U.S. States Had the Most Flight Delays Last Year

A new ranking shows some states rank better than others.

With all the planning, packing, commuting, and rushing, traveling is stressful enough by itself. If you then add flight delays that might make you miss a connection to the mix, that's just the cherry on top of a truly stressful situation.

Knowing which states in the US are the most likely to have flight delays, though, might make your life a little easier—and your vacation much more enjoyable. That way, at least, you know which airports you might want to avoid for a layover.

Between January and November 2022, the US witnessed 1.4 million delayed flights. The family vacations experts over at Family Destinations Guide looked at data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to not only find out how the different states rank in terms of flight delays, but also to assess the actual reasons and leading causes behind them.

In terms of which states in which flight delays happen the most, you might want to stay clear from California, Texas, and Florida, if possible. Those are, in order, the top three states for flight delays. New York, instead, ranks fourth on the list.

Take a look at the complete ranking below, which includes the number of flight delays between January and November 2022 in each state:

1. California: 1,344,218
2. Texas: 1,299,848
3. Florida: 1,073,027
4. New York: 708,579
5. Illinois: 647,369
6. Georgia: 630,885
7. Colorado: 560,267
8. North Carolina: 510,473
9. Washington: 387,909
10. Nevada: 356,827
11. Arizona: 349,203
12. Michigan: 294,533
13. Pennsylvania: 261,213
14. Massachusetts: 259,925
15. New Jersey: 247,079
16. Tennessee: 237,280
17. Minnesota: 232,403
18. Ohio: 231,259
19. Hawaii: 223,572
20. Utah: 212,911
21. Missouri: 208,616
22. Maryland: 158,533
23. Oregon: 155,120
24. Louisiana: 118,686
25. South Carolina: 113,548
26. Indiana: 97,968
27. Wisconsin: 90,385
28. Virginia: 87,105
29. Alaska: 77,064
30. Oklahoma: 68,965
31. Idaho: 62,872
32. Kentucky: 54,652
33. Montana: 52,304
34. Alabama: 51,992
35. Iowa: 46,542
36. Nebraska: 45,198
37. New Mexico: 43,619
38. Arkansas: 43,188
39. Connecticut: 43,099
40. North Dakota: 30,184
41. Maine: 29,333
42. Rhode Island: 28,006
43. Kansas: 25,970
44. Mississippi: 24,292
45. South Dakota: 23,236
46. Wyoming: 18,517
47. Vermont 15,166
48. New Hampshire: 13,070
49. West Virginia: 9,019
50. Delaware: 94

While the ranking not surprisingly mirrors the most populous states at the very top, there is more variation as you scroll down. Pennsylvania, for example, is the fifth most populous state but ranked 13th here. Ohio is the seventh most populous state and ranked 18th. Virginia is the twelfth most populous state and ranked 28th. On the other side of the coin, Colorado took seventh place in the ranking but is the 21st-most populous state, while Nevada placed tenth and is the 32nd-most populous state.

So what exactly causes these delays? There are at least seven things to blame when that "delayed" alert pops up on the airport's displays. According to the analysis, air carrier delays—which are caused by airline-related issues like aircraft cleaning, damage to the aircraft, and baggage delays—are the number one cause of delayed flights in the US, resulting in a total of 465,759 disrupted flights in 2022.

The aircraft arriving late is also up there among the top causes of flight delays. Before you point your finger, though, it is important to note that this isn't always due to the flight departing late. Sometimes it has to do with crowded airports, which can cause late arrivals. In 2022, this affected 422,851 flights.

Sometimes it is the National Aviation System (NAS) to blame for flight delays, and circumstances under this category include non-extreme weather conditions, airport operations, heavy traffic volume, and air traffic control issues. Last year, these issues affected 296,573 flights nationwide.

Other less common causes of flight delays in the US last year included canceled flights, weather delays, diversions, and security delays.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.