Travel Tips

The best time to travel revealed

The best time to travel revealed

With the demand for travel high after almost two years of borders being closed, more passengers are asking when are the best times and routes to travel. 

Planning is more essential now more than ever for smooth air travel given the past month’s hiccups.

A tidal wave of delays and cancellations arrived at airports across Britain, the US and EU over June, including luggage handling glitches at Heathrow and labour shortages across American airports. 

Last week there were 14,500 cancellations and 34,000 delays across the international airspace according to air traffic monitor FlightAware.

However, this disruption has only affected passengers travelling at a specific time. You can escape some of the chaos, if you pick the right airline, route and time to travel.

The best times to travel

According to the data from FlightRadar24 and OAG cargo of cancellations across the last month, the best times to fly are late mornings between 10am and 1pm. 

Only 0.75% of flights were cancelled in the hour before midday, making this off-peak period the safest time to fly.

The risk of cancellation rises for later flights, as an average of 138 flights between 6pm and 7pm were cancelled. 

The best day to fly

Saturday is the best time to fly, according to the data. With only 157 departures scrapped, it’s a far better bet than Sunday.

Sunday was no day of rest for those arranging travel with 256 flights cancelled out of the UK. 2% of all flights were grounded, making it a day to avoid.

The best and worst airlines to fly with

Looking at delays and cancellations in the data from Flightaware, some international airlines were less affected by disruption than others, according to on-time arrivals from the past week.

Japan’s All Nippon Airlines was the most reliable, with fewer than 10 planes cancelled a day. This is on top of an impressive 97% on-time record.

Turkish Airlines also fared well, cancelling fewer than one in every 380 flights, albeit seeing 735 late running services.

Ryanair and easyJet all managed an impressive less than 1% cancellation rate, however they were beset by major delays.

These two budget airlines also saw between 20 and 40% of flights delayed by over 30 minutes. So an average of around 600 flights running late a day.

China Eastern and Tianjin Airlines saw 16% and 28% of flights knocked off the board, or around 500 flights a day.

However, it was Spring Airlines which saw one of the worst performance records.

Over the past three days, almost 50% of its international flights were cancelled.

June was a bad month for KLM. 

The Dutch carrier saw a whopping 5% cancellation rate over June. Disruption was so bad the carrier stopped selling flights into Amsterdam Schiphol at the beginning of the month to ease overcrowding.

On this side of the world, New Zealand had a 14% disruption rate over the last week, versus 21% for Jetstar and 15 per cent for Qantas.

Best and worst airports for disruption

Disruptions at New York’s Airports saw La Guardia facing highs of 17% of daily flights cancelled and Newark Liberty suffering around 14%  of international flights scrubbed. JFK, however, managed to cruise along with 96% of daily flights taking off.

London’s disruption was felt worse at some airports than others, according to FlightRadar24 data. London Stansted in the north east saw the least cancellations with only 1 in 720 services scrapped.

London City Airport was worst affected, the central city airstrip in London’s docklands saw an abysmal one in 33 – or 3% – of flights axed.


Even in the worst affected cities, some travel hubs were moving quicker than others.

Image: Getty

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