Why You May Want To Avoid Flying Out Of This Southern US Airport This Holiday Season

Any time you choose to fly, there's the very real possibility you'll be faced with an unexpected flight delay or cancelation. These days, it seems to be more common than ever before for many major airlines. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, around 45,000 flights are handled on average each day, and even more flights are scheduled between November and January.

While there's so much that's out of your control when it comes to holiday travel, there are certainly some steps you can take to avoid the chances of disappointment or added stress when flying. Picking your airport strategically is a smart place to start. This holiday season, it may very well be worth your while to avoid El Paso International Airport in Texas if you want to put the odds of avoiding a flight delay in your favor.

A recent IPX1031 survey reported around 62% of Americans are planning to travel over the holidays in 2023 with nearly 84% of that group traveling in December. That means plenty of travelers at airports across the nation hoping to make it to their final destinations on time. While the numbers at FlightAware have shown a decrease in flight cancelations in 2023 as opposed to 2022 so far, flight delays seem to unfortunately be on the rise. Data is pointing to around 30,000 delayed flights globally each day with anywhere from 7,000 to 9,000 of those delayed flights happening in the U.S.

Try to avoid a holiday travel headache

El Paso International Airport is a busy aviation hub year-round thanks to the comprehensive lineup of airlines it serves. These include Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier Airlines, Southwest, and United. Unfortunately, it seems departing from this airport on time on any of these airlines is trickier than when you leave from other airports across the nation during the holidays.

A report by the team over at Upgraded Points shows El Paso International Airport as a destination that consistently racks up the most delayed departures in America during the high travel season. The report looked at statistics spanning 100 airports that accounted for arrival and departure times between December 14 and January 5 annually since 2014. At the final count, El Paso International Airport saw 32.8% of their holiday flights delayed.

The numbers could be worrisome for travelers who don't have much wiggle room around their holiday schedules. It's also something to consider for travelers planning a family-friendly trip at the end of the year with young travelers who might not handle delays gracefully. If you're up for traveling a bit further to avoid the potential for a delay, Las Cruces International Airport is just 53 miles from El Paso and didn't earn a place on the report's list.

Know your rights when your flight is delayed

If you're flying out of El Paso International Airport over the holidays, it's good to understand your rights as a passenger if your flight is delayed or canceled. Checking your airline app before heading to the airport is important, but you'll also want to try to be first in line at the ticket counter when a delay or cancelation is announced. Re-bookings are typically first-come first-serve over the holidays and you don't want to end up with fewer options.

While you're waiting, take time to call your airline directly. Sometimes can be a faster way to get a re-booking in place. Additionally, don't be shy about asking for meal vouchers or hotel compensation if you're facing an overnight delay. These aren't always offered immediately, but you always have the right to request them. In the event your delay happens to turn into an airline cancelation, the U.S. Department of Transportation has mandated travelers are due a full refund.

If you're not entirely sure what you're owed for a delayed or canceled flight out of El Paso International Airport this holiday season, take a look at the Department of Transportation's dashboard which breaks down what you're entitled to according to your airline. While you wait, there's some relief in knowing the airport implements a December holiday concert series on-site for travelers to enjoy. It's designed to both showcase local talented ensembles and spread holiday cheer at the airport through musical performances.