Adventures await us all at Miami International Airport: On any given day, you might come across a naked man in Concourse G, a guy with seven snakes and three turtles stuffed down his pants in the security line, or an Instagram fitness influencer being kicked off a plane after arguing with the flight crew.
But at least you'll have something interesting to look at when your flight is inevitably delayed: According to a new analysis, MIA is the fifth worst airport in the country when it comes to flight delays. The list ranks Miami's airport as the worst in Florida, which is probably unsurprising to anyone who's ever waited in one of the notoriously long security lines.
On average, passengers with delayed flights from Miami were pushed back 68 minutes, followed by nearly 20 minutes on the runway before takeoff. The customs line adds another 20 minutes of waiting around. Overall, more than 20 percent of flights do not leave on time.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport ranked better, but only slightly. The average flight delay at FLL is 64 minutes, with an additional 17-minute taxi time for departing flights.
Travel blogger Asher Fergusson, an Australian who now lives in Iowa with his wife and son, says he was inspired to compile the data after a series of bad experiences at airports in Chicago and New York.
"My wife and I thought we should research what the real numbers are, not just anecdotal evidence," he says. "We thought it could help travelers to not go through a certain airport if they had a choice."
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Fergusson says he spent about a month compiling data from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. One thing that surprised him was Atlanta — the busiest airport in the world — ranked much higher than airports that serve far fewer passengers.
"It was eye-opening, considering it's one of the best on the list," Fergusson says. "That's what got me thinking about the design of airports and whether that has any influence in that." He pulled up satellite images of the best and worst airports in his ranking system and found those that performed better typically were on larger pieces of land with more runways.
Fergusson has never flown into or out of Miami but says he plans to in February, when he will leave from PortMiami on a cruise. Having pulled together all the data, he now knows which airports to avoid for the layover.
"We have to choose a connecting airport, with three choices — Atlanta, Dallas, and Chicago," he says. "All the flights were the same price. Now armed with this information, we can choose which connecting airport is the least likely to get delays on our way home."