This Western Airport Has Been Ranked The Worst In America For Flight Delays

There are ways to reduce travel stress, such as not overpacking your itinerary and leaving early for the airport to avoid rushing. Of course, if we're honest, it's easier to keep stress at bay when things go according to plan. So, if your flight gets delayed, it can feel like you're starting your vacation off on the wrong foot before you even arrive at your destination. To stay on schedule and ease any worries, you may want to avoid Provo Airport, which has gained a reputation as the worst travel hub in the U.S. for flight delays.

The small airport in Utah was highlighted in a report by Places to Travel based on data from the Bureau of Transportation (via Fox Business). The study looked at flights between 2023 and 2024 and determined that travelers passing through Provo Airport were subjected to the longest delays in the country, clocking in at one hour and 43 minutes on average. Moreover, nearly 40% of flights going in and out of the regional port were delayed.

In 2023, a separate study conducted by Jettly (via TMJ4) confirmed Provo Airport's reputation for delays. It compiled flight data from the Bureau of Transportation between January and August 2023 and found Provo to be the third worst for unreliability. California's Stockton Metropolitan Airport was named the least reliable airport, followed by Colorado's Aspen/Pitkin County Airport.

Why are flights so delayed at Provo Airport?

Provo Airport is a small airport with just around a dozen flights per day. Still, it deals with delays just like its larger counterparts. According to Brian Torgersen (Director at Provo Airport), this is due to the commercial airlines that service Provo, which currently only includes budget-friendly U.S. airlines Breeze Airways, Allegiant, and American Airlines.

Torgersen told Fox Business, "[Breeze and Allegiant] do not have spare aircraft, or flight crews, sitting in Provo to plug into the schedule during extended delays. [...] Aside from the first flights of the day, flights departing from Provo cannot leave until the aircraft arrives from its previous destinations, accruing delay throughout the day at every previous stop." In other words, the budget airlines' scant fleet is the reason for Provo's delays, not the airport itself.

However, this might all change in the future. Provo Airport is planning an expansion that will welcome major carriers and even flights to and from international destinations. As more airlines and routes arrive at the Utah airport, your chances of avoiding delays could improve.

How to deal with Provo's delays

A late flight can seriously derail your travel plans, and if you fly through Provo Airport, there's a good chance you'll deal with a delay. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Transportation notes that there are no federal rules or protections for travelers awaiting flights. Even if you've been waiting at the airport for hours and no plane is in sight, you might simply be bumped to another future flight — which could be scheduled for an entirely different day.

To avoid the hassle, keep a flexible itinerary and have a backup plan in case your original flight is severely delayed. Sticking to direct flights rather than journeys with layovers can mitigate some risks. You can also reduce your chances of annoying delays by avoiding afternoon flights when possible.

Finally, consider using another travel hub if you're worried about the tardiness at Provo. Salt Lake City International Airport is a large airport located only 50 miles north of Provo Airport. Further away, you can find other regional Utah airports, including St. George and Cedar City.