The Midwest’s Best Airports, Ranked by Number of Delays

By Christina Lorey

January 18, 2023

Of the 10 busiest airports in the Midwest, only one is in Wisconsin: Milwaukee’s Mitchell International. But depending on where you live, out-of-state airports can often be closer, cheaper, or both

We used flight cancellation data (the total percentage of canceled flights from January to August 2022) from the US Department of Transportation to rank the region’s most reliable airports, from worst (#10) to best (#1).

10. Cleveland-Hopkins International (CLE): 3.92%

Cleveland, Ohio

Pros: Busiest airport in Ohio, with many routes on multiple airlines

Cons: Limited international flights

9. Indianapolis International (IND): 3.77%

Southwest Indianapolis, Indiana

Pros: Not crowded

Cons: Limited international routes

8. Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International (CVG): 3.51%

Hebron, Kentucky

Pros: Not too crowded, affordable flights on Frontier and Allegiant

Cons: Limited international routes

7. Chicago O’Hare International (ORD): 3.44%

Northwest Chicago, Illinois

Pros: 200+ nonstop routes

Cons: Crowded, with frequent delays, long lines, and lots of traffic

6. St. Louis Lambert International (STL): 3.39%

Northwest St. Louis, Missouri

Pros: Affordable flights on Southwest

Cons: Fewer international routes, easily congested

5. Chicago Midway International (MDW): 3.01%

Southwest Chicago, Illinois

Pros: Less crowded, good deals on Southwest, closer to downtown

Cons: Fewer routes, especially international

4. Kansas City International Airport (MCI): 2.91%

Northwest Kansas City, Missouri

Pros: Not crowded

Cons: Limited international routes

3. Milwaukee Mitchell International (MKE): 2.87%

South Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Pros: Not crowded, updated terminals

Cons: The only international routes are to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean

2. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW): 2.38%

Romulus, Michigan

Pros: Many routes on both major and budget carriers, modern terminals

Cons: No train connections to downtown

1. Minneapolis-Saint Paul International (MSP): 1.63%

South Minneapolis, Minnesota

Pros: Great routes, thanks to its Delta hub

Cons: Gets crowded

The Midwest's Best Airports, Ranked by Number of Delays

Other Takeaways 

New York’s LaGuardia Airport had the highest cancellation rate in the country for 2022: 6.42%, triple its 2021 rate.

Airports on the East Coast made up the top 10 worst for cancellation percentage.

Three Hawaiian airports had the three lowest cancellation rates in the country; the big island’s Kona International had the overall lowest of just 0.6%.

Which airline you’re flying also matters. These are the on-time percentages for all 10 major airlines from July 2021 through July 2022, according to the Bureau of Transportation:

  • Alaska Airlines: 78.1%
  • Allegiant Air: 61.96%
  • American Airlines: 76.39%
  • Delta Air Lines: 83.32%
  • Frontier Airlines: 69.27%
  • Hawaiian Airlines: 85.43%
  • JetBlue: 65.57%
  • Southwest Airlines: 72.68%
  • Spirit Airlines: 71.83%
  • United Airlines: 78.04%

The Uplift

Wisconsin may be the third on the list of the Midwest’s Best Airport, but it wins in terms of convenience and innovation. 

Heading someplace warm? MKE is the only US airport with a coat check service! Drop your coat, gloves, and other winter gear at the Summerfest Marketplace in the main concourse for just $2/day, with a $10 max. 

DID YOU KNOW? Florida is the top flight destination from Milwaukee.

Not only does this save you room in your suitcase, but it frees up space in the airplane’s overhead bins, too!

While Milwaukee is the only American airport to currently offer this service, New York’s JFK International briefly tested it in 2014, and Frankfurt Airport in Germany also allows travelers to leave their winter coats behind. 


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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