With a "historic" blizzard ready to sweep the East Coast, air travel this weekend will almost certainly be a mess.
But it turns out that where you fly from can make a huge difference in the size of your travel headache.
Planes leaving Detroit, for example, are the most likely to face weather-related delays in the months of December, January, and February. And even far away from snow, Houston's George Bush Airport comes in second in the list of departure cities with the most delayed winter flights.
Meanwhile, planes leaving the warm states of Hawaii and California more often tend to leave without a hitch.
But the frequency of the delay isn't the only metric that matters. There are some airports that are rarely delayed because they don't see much inclement weather in the winter months. But that also means they aren't prepared for even the smallest amount of snow.
So with that in mind, I created this chart help you figure out how your airport compares when it comes to weather delays. It uses Federal Aviation Administration data that goes back to 2003 on every flight delay that has happened in the winter. There are two axes, which display the frequency and length of delays in December, January, and February.
A few takeaways:
In New York, you can take educated risks
Flying out of New York City during inclement weather isn't fun. But you might be able to make a more educated risk assessment based on this data.
John F. Kennedy Airport will give you the lowest chance of a weather delay, but on average delays last 89 minutes. Compare that with LaGuardia Airport, where you have a higher chance of a delay but shorter delays in general.
In the Washington area, Baltimore is probably a better bet than Reagan or Dulles
The length of weather delays is slightly longer at Dulles, and the chances of encountering a delay are higher at Reagan, so Baltimore is probably the best winter choice.
California airports weather winter the best
Winter weather delays in Southern California aren't bad, and they virtually never deal with snow. But avoid Los Angeles and San Diego, if possible, to reduce your chances of being stuck for a long time at the gate.
If you're near the Great Lakes, Godspeed
Arguably the worst place to fly out of during winter months? The Upper Midwest, which I'm calling the "Great Lakes" region. The average winter delays at Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport are 95 minutes. Both Chicago airports have very long delays, although Midway will give you slightly higher odds of encountering a delay in the first place.
Also, it might look like Cincinnati has a ton of delays, at 3 percent of winter flights, but what throws off that number is the local carrier Comair, which has had some epic delays because of snow. For example, in 2004, a computer crash caused by a pre-Christmas snowstorm grounded the airline entirely, with some people experiencing nearly two-week delays.
If it snows in Texas, stay home
It doesn't snow often in Texas, but at both Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth, weather has caused very long delays. Austin and San Antonio, where the delays are less likely to be snow-related, fare better.
Flight delays are really infrequent
This fact will likely not be true this weekend. But when you take the data in aggregate, it actually is somewhat impressive how good humans have gotten at navigating gigantic metal machines through the air in the midst of winter weather.
Department of Transportation data shows that weather has delayed fewer than 1 percent of all winter flights since 2003. If you focus on just the states that tend to experience snow, the total only jumps up to 1.5 percent.
And if that isn't much solace, you can take comfort in this fact: Attempting to fly this weekend is much, much safer than driving.