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June 17, 2015

Data analysis shows Philadelphia International Airport isn't America's worst airport

Updated data analysis from FiveThirtyEight places Philadelphia fifth-worst among 30 "Large Hub" airports in the country measured for minutes added to travel time.

While fifth-from-the-bottom isn't exactly an honor worth celebrating, it's certainly an "it-could-be-worse" silver lining for anyone venturing out of PHL this summer.

According to Department of Transportation data from May 2014 to April 2015 analyzed by Nate Silver (yes, that Nate Silver), the average time added to a trip was about 17 minutes flying out of PHL and 14 minutes flying into the airport. Abysmal, to be sure, but that is three fewer roundtrip minutes added onto travel time than FiveThirtyEight reported between January and December 2014.

Philadelphia joined Chicago (O'Hare International Airport), Newark (Newark Liberty International Airport) and New York (JFK International and LaGuardia Airport) as hosts of the airports with the worst travel times. New York anchored the bottom of the list, with an average added travel time of about 30 minutes flying out of LaGuardia and a roundtrip addition of 56 minutes -- 25 minutes more than a roundtrip flight out of and into Philadelphia.


The running list of major city airports, ordered by "Minutes Added" to travel time. (

Honolulu, meanwhile, topped the list as the fastest airport in the country -- somehow subtracting a grand total of 10 minutes from roundtrip flights. Of note, though, is that many of the Top 5 airports are located in cities with predictable weather patterns (read: fewer snowstorms). 

Head on over to FiveThirtyEight for the full analysis and methodology of the data, which also includes a breakdown of the best and worst airlines, as well as a nifty interactive tool that can tell you which airlines at PHL allow you touch ground at your destination the fastest.