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MSNBC.com – Atlanta Airport Delays Have Most Ripple Effects

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A recent article on MSNBC.com identified airline delays at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta as having a large impact on travel.

ATLANTA — A study says more delays at major airports across the country were attributed to problems at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport than at any other.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said the report by the Government Accountability Office shows that problems in Atlanta affect air traffic all over the country. Hartsfield-Jackson is the world’s busiest airport.

Hartsfield-Jackson ranked 29th out of 31 major airports for on-time performance in 2009.

Airport spokesman John Kennedy attributed the report’s findings to the large volume of traffic at the world’s busiest airport. He said it’s logical that what happens in Atlanta would affect travelers across the country.

The report said that overall airline on-time performance improved across the country, but declined in Atlanta. At Hartsfield-Jackson, 72.6 percent of flights arrived on time in 2009, down from 75.5 percent in 2008. The higher delay rate was due to an increase in the number of scheduled flights and peak periods during the day.

This year so far, however, Atlanta’s airport has seen an improvement in on-time performance, with 78.6 percent of flights arriving on time in the first four months of the year and a No. 16 ranking.

When travel plans are affected by airline delays, travel insurance can help offset the additional costs that might be incurred.  Extra fees and airline costs when a late flight leads to missing another can be reimbursed by missed connection coverage.  If flight delays or cancellations cause the traveler to stay overnight, the cost of lodging and meals is covered by travel delay.  Also, any unused trip costs can be reimbursed by trip interruption coverage.  Always refer to the certificate of insurance for details as these benefits might only be available if the delay is for a covered reason, or lasts for a set amount of time.