This Midwest Airport is Among Top 10 Most Weather Delayed

If you’re considering air travel to or from the Midwest, it’s advisable to check the weather forecast beforehand. According to a recent report from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), the busiest airport in the Midwest and the sixth busiest globally, found its place among the top 10 most weather-delayed airports in the United States in 2023.

Identifying the Airport

Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is the specific airport under scrutiny. As a major hub for airlines like United, American, and Southwest, ORD faced a substantial number of weather-related delays last year.

Magnitude of Delays

In 2023, ORD experienced a total of 23,456 weather-related delays, constituting 18.4% of all its delays. The average delay duration was 67 minutes, surpassing the national average of 62 minutes. Additionally, the report highlighted ORD as having the highest number of weather-related cancellations, with 2,892 flights affected by adverse weather conditions.

Causes of Delays

The primary contributor to weather-related delays at ORD is the region’s winter weather, bringing challenges such as snow, ice, fog, and strong winds. These conditions impact visibility, runway conditions, and air traffic control operations, with only two of the airport’s four runways usable simultaneously during inclement weather, leading to reduced capacity and increased congestion.

Another factor influencing weather delays is summer thunderstorms, a frequent occurrence in the Midwest. These storms, producing lightning, hail, and heavy rain, can disrupt airport operations despite the presence of sensors and cameras for monitoring. Unpredictable storm development may prompt the suspension of flights.

Strategies to Mitigate Delays

To minimize or avoid weather-related delays at ORD, consider the following tips:

  • Check the weather forecast before booking your flight. If possible, steer clear of peak winter or summer seasons or opt for alternative nearby airports like Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) or Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE).
  • Opt for early morning flights to reduce the likelihood of encountering delays, as they tend to increase later in the day. Early flights also provide more options for rebooking or rescheduling in case of delays or cancellations.
  • Travel light with carry-on luggage to facilitate easier adjustments in case of delays or cancellations. Avoiding checked baggage can save time and prevent additional fees or potential loss of belongings during transit.
  • Stay informed and flexible by checking your flight status online or through the airline’s app before heading to the airport. Contact the airline promptly if your flight is affected, as rebooking, refunds, or travel vouchers may be available. Be prepared to adjust your itinerary or accommodation plans as needed.


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