Cheap, Busy Flight Routes That Aren’t Worth It

The holidays are quickly approaching, which means scrambling to buy gifts, figuring out who to tip and how much, higher airline prices and millions of people hitting the road and the skies to visit family and friends. If you’re getting stressed about the season, you may want to consider a whole new travel plan: leaving on the actual holiday, instead of on the days before. Not only can you save money, but some surprising perks might help you realize why you should travel on the holidays more often. It really could be the best thing for your sanity and your wallet — and might make you feel like you’re traveling like a millionaire, without the millionaire budget.
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Slide 1 of 12: Flying a busy flight route can be a real headache: lines at security will be longer, wait times to board the plane will be longer, and a full flight means you might have to check a carry-on bag if the overhead compartments fill up before your time to board. In addition to these flight routes being the busiest in the U.S., they also fly into and out of airports with low passenger experience ratings, and airports that are known for having flight delays. Before booking one of these flight routes, consider flying into or out of a smaller airport, or driving if possible, even if you score cheap airfare. It could end up saving you a lot of hassle if you avoid these air travel mistakes.
Slide 2 of 12:  Average base fare: $163.41  The flight route connecting Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson to the Ft. Lauderdale Airport is the No. 98 busiest route in the world, with 2.36 million passengers in 2017, according to Routes Online. Although you can get cheap flight tickets for this route, with the average tickets costing less than $200, it might not be worth the headache. ATL is one of the slowest airports to fly out of, with an extra five minutes on average added to every outgoing trip, according to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight. And FLL is one of the slowest to fly into, with an extra three minutes added on to the average incoming flight.
Slide 3 of 12:  Average base fare: $219.89  Over 2.38 million passengers traveled on the flight from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson to New York Laguardia in 2017, making it the 93rd busiest flight route in the world, according to Routes Online. The ATL to LGA trip can be brutal in terms of delays. You have the average five minutes added on to departing flights leaving from Atlanta, plus an extra 27 minutes added on average to flights flying into LaGuardia, which is the slowest airport in the U.S., the FiveThirtyEight study found.
Slide 4 of 12:  Average base fare: $185.97  If you plan to fly from Denver to Los Angeles, you’ll be in good company: 2.52 million passengers flew along this flight route in 2017, according to Routes Online, which found that it’s the No. 83 busiest flight route in the world. But just because a lot of people fly this route doesn’t mean you should, too. Flying into Los Angeles can be an unpleasant experience; according to AirHelp, passengers rated their experience traveling through LAX a 4.9 on a scale of zero to 10. Avoid These: Biggest Airport Rip-Offs
Slide 5 of 12:  Average base fare: $187.72  In 2017, 2.77 million passengers flew from LA to Seattle, according to Routes Online. This flight route is the No. 62 busiest in the world, the site found. Be prepared to experience minor delays on both ends, with an average of three minutes added to flights leaving LAX, and an average of four minutes added to flights arriving at SEA, according to the FiveThirtyEight data.
Slide 6 of 12:  Average base fare: $220.16  Millions of people escaped Sin City for the City of Angels in 2017, with 2.82 passengers flying on this flight route, Routes Online found. The short flight is the No. 59 busiest flight route in the world. Flying through Las Vegas McCarran International Airport can be an unpleasant experience, with passengers rating it a 5.1 on a scale of zero to 10, according to AirHelp. Get Lounge Access Without the Frequent Flyer Miles: Best Credit Cards for Airport Lounge Access
Slide 7 of 12:  Average base fare: $208.84  The flight route from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson to Orlando is the No. 58 busiest in the world, Routes Online found. Over 2.83 million people flew along this flight route in 2017. However, you should avoid flying into or out of ATL at all costs. Not only is it one of the slowest in terms of flight times, but it’s also the second-worst airport in the world in terms of passenger ratings, according to data collected by AirHelp. The airport got a passenger sentiment rating of 0.9 on a scale of zero to 10.
Slide 8 of 12:  Average base fare: $264.64  The flight route from Los Angeles to Chicago is the 53rd busiest in the world, according to Routes Online. Over 2.93 passengers traveled the route in 2017. If you fly this route, be prepared for delays. Chicago is one of the slowest airports to fly into, with an average of 20 minutes added to your trip, FiveThirtyEight found. Don’t Fall for These: 17 Ways Airports Trick You Into Spending More Money
Slide 9 of 12:  Average base fare: $642.41  The flight from New York to London is the most popular international flight route leaving from the U.S., and it’s the No. 49 busiest flight route in the world, with 2.97 passengers in 2017, according to Routes Online. That’s probably because you can get cheap international flights on this route — but it’s still not worth it. You’re almost guaranteed to have an unpleasant flying experience on this route. You can expect to have 25 minutes added to your trip if you’re flying out of JFK, according to FiveThirtyEight, and when you land at Heathrow, you’re flying into an airport with the 16th lowest passenger experience rating in the world. The airport scored a 2.8 on a scale of zero to 10 for passenger experience, according to AirHelp.
Slide 10 of 12:  Average base fare: $166.01  Over 3.11 million passengers traveled from New York Laguardia to Chicago O’Hare in 2017, making it the No. 46 busiest flight route in the world, according to Routes Online. When you flying this route, you’re flying into and out of two of the slowest airports in the U.S. Expect an average of 30 minutes to be added to your flight leaving from LaGuardia, and an average of 20 minutes to be added to your flight landing in O’Hare, which means an extra 50 minutes round-trip, according to the FiveThirtyEight data. O’Hare and 21 Other: Coolest Airports That Are Worth the Layover
Slide 11 of 12:  Average base fare: $225.81  The flight route connecting LAX to SFO is the No. 31 busiest in the world; 3.51 million passengers flew the route in 2017, according to Routes Online. You’re likely to experience delays on both ends, with an average of three minutes added to flights departing from LAX, and an average of 12 minutes added to flights arriving at SFO, according to the FiveThirtyEight data.
Slide 12 of 12:  Average base fare: $441.40  The flight route connecting New York JFK and Los Angeles is the busiest flight route in the U.S., and the 30th busiest flight route in the world, with 3.53 million passengers flying this route in 2017, according to Routes Online. Not only are you likely to experience delays on both ends, but you’ll be flying from one low-rated airport to another. JFK scored a 2.8 on a scale of zero to 10 for its passenger experience, according to AirHelp. More on Saving Money and Travel  How to Book Last-Minute Travel Plans on the Cheap How to Travel Like a Millionaire — Without the Millionaire Budget Las Vegas Vacation Secrets Only Insiders Know Watch: How This Travel Blogger Saves Big During ‘Shoulder Season’  We make money easy. Get weekly email updates, including expert advice to help you Live Richer™.

Flying a busy flight route can be a real headache: lines at security will be longer, wait times to board the plane will be longer, and a full flight means you might have to check a carry-on bag if the overhead compartments fill up before your time to board.

In addition to these flight routes being the busiest in the U.S., they also fly into and out of airports with low passenger experience ratings, and airports that are known for having flight delays.

Before booking one of these flight routes, consider flying into or out of a smaller airport, or driving if possible, even if you score cheap airfare. It could end up saving you a lot of hassle if you avoid these air travel mistakes.

11. Atlanta (ATL) to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (FLL)

Average base fare: $163.41

The flight route connecting Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson to the Ft. Lauderdale Airport is the No. 98 busiest route in the world, with 2.36 million passengers in 2017, according to Routes Online.

Although you can get cheap flight tickets for this route, with the average tickets costing less than $200, it might not be worth the headache. ATL is one of the slowest airports to fly out of, with an extra five minutes on average added to every outgoing trip, according to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight. And FLL is one of the slowest to fly into, with an extra three minutes added on to the average incoming flight.

10. Atlanta (ATL) to New York (LGA)

Average base fare: $219.89

Over 2.38 million passengers traveled on the flight from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson to New York Laguardia in 2017, making it the 93rd busiest flight route in the world, according to Routes Online.

The ATL to LGA trip can be brutal in terms of delays. You have the average five minutes added on to departing flights leaving from Atlanta, plus an extra 27 minutes added on average to flights flying into LaGuardia, which is the slowest airport in the U.S., the FiveThirtyEight study found.

9. Denver (DEN) to Los Angeles (LAX)

Average base fare: $185.97

If you plan to fly from Denver to Los Angeles, you’ll be in good company: 2.52 million passengers flew along this flight route in 2017, according to Routes Online, which found that it’s the No. 83 busiest flight route in the world.

But just because a lot of people fly this route doesn’t mean you should, too. Flying into Los Angeles can be an unpleasant experience; according to AirHelp, passengers rated their experience traveling through LAX a 4.9 on a scale of zero to 10.

8. Los Angeles (LAX) to Seattle (SEA)

Average base fare: $187.72

In 2017, 2.77 million passengers flew from LA to Seattle, according to Routes Online. This flight route is the No. 62 busiest in the world, the site found.

Be prepared to experience minor delays on both ends, with an average of three minutes added to flights leaving LAX, and an average of four minutes added to flights arriving at SEA, according to the FiveThirtyEight data

7. Las Vegas (LAS) to Los Angeles (LAX)

Average base fare: $220.16

Millions of people escaped Sin City for the City of Angels in 2017, with 2.82 passengers flying on this flight route, Routes Online found. The short flight is the No. 59 busiest flight route in the world.

Flying through Las Vegas McCarran International Airport can be an unpleasant experience, with passengers rating it a 5.1 on a scale of zero to 10, according to AirHelp.

6. Atlanta (ATL) to Orlando (MCO)

Average base fare: $208.84

The flight route from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson to Orlando is the No. 58 busiest in the world, Routes Online found. Over 2.83 million people flew along this flight route in 2017.

However, you should avoid flying into or out of ATL at all costs. Not only is it one of the slowest in terms of flight times, but it’s also the second-worst airport in the world in terms of passenger ratings, according to data collected by AirHelp. The airport got a passenger sentiment rating of 0.9 on a scale of zero to 10.

5. Los Angeles (LAX) to Chicago (ORD)

Average base fare: $264.64

The flight route from Los Angeles to Chicago is the 53rd busiest in the world, according to Routes Online. Over 2.93 passengers traveled the route in 2017.

If you fly this route, be prepared for delays. Chicago is one of the slowest airports to fly into, with an average of 20 minutes added to your trip, FiveThirtyEight found.

4. New York (JFK) to London (LHR)

Average base fare: $642.41

The flight from New York to London is the most popular international flight route leaving from the U.S., and it’s the No. 49 busiest flight route in the world, with 2.97 passengers in 2017, according to Routes Online. That’s probably because you can get cheap international flights on this route — but it’s still not worth it.

You’re almost guaranteed to have an unpleasant flying experience on this route. You can expect to have 25 minutes added to your trip if you’re flying out of JFK, according to FiveThirtyEight, and when you land at Heathrow, you’re flying into an airport with the 16th lowest passenger experience rating in the world. The airport scored a 2.8 on a scale of zero to 10 for passenger experience, according to AirHelp.

3. New York (LGA) to Chicago (ORD)

Average base fare: $166.01

Over 3.11 million passengers traveled from New York Laguardia to Chicago O’Hare in 2017, making it the No. 46 busiest flight route in the world, according to Routes Online.

When you flying this route, you’re flying into and out of two of the slowest airports in the U.S. Expect an average of 30 minutes to be added to your flight leaving from LaGuardia, and an average of 20 minutes to be added to your flight landing in O’Hare, which means an extra 50 minutes round-trip, according to the FiveThirtyEight data.

2. Los Angeles (LAX) to San Francisco (SFO)

Average base fare: $225.81

The flight route connecting LAX to SFO is the No. 31 busiest in the world; 3.51 million passengers flew the route in 2017, according to Routes Online.

You’re likely to experience delays on both ends, with an average of three minutes added to flights departing from LAX, and an average of 12 minutes added to flights arriving at SFO, according to the FiveThirtyEight data.

1. New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX)

Average base fare: $441.40

The flight route connecting New York JFK and Los Angeles is the busiest flight route in the U.S., and the 30th busiest flight route in the world, with 3.53 million passengers flying this route in 2017, according to Routes Online.

Not only are you likely to experience delays on both ends, but you’ll be flying from one low-rated airport to another. JFK scored a 2.8 on a scale of zero to 10 for its passenger experience, according to AirHelp.

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