Delayed flights are the bane of business travellers’ lives. Can you pick your flights strategically in order to minimise the risk of being held up?

Do your research

There is plenty of information online about the best and the worst when it comes to delays. Flightstats offers rankings of airlines and airports worldwide as well as delay maps.

Flightcaster predicts delays for US flights and AvoidDelays provides statistics on the worst airports for delays and the worst times for the US.

You can also download apps for both Flightstats and Flightcaster.

The early bird misses the delay

“In general, the flights least likely to be delayed are the first of the morning,” says Andrew Wong, TripAdvisor’s European senior flights manager. “The aeroplane will already be at the airport, so you won’t be held up by a delayed inbound flight.”

Avoid peak times
Peak times for business trips – generally between 8am and 9am – tend to be the worst for delays, especially at busy airports such as Heathrow. These flights are also likely to be heavily booked and bunched together, meaning there is less leeway and longer queues.

Mr Wong advises that using smaller airports is often a way of minimising the chance of being affected by such events. “If you can use more minor airports, such as London City and Frankfurt Hahn, you are less likely to experience delays,” he says. “Remember too that if you have a connection on your flights, you double your chances of being delayed.”

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