The airport and flight hacks that will get you through the year's busiest period.

There’s one phrase that makes most travellers’ eyes roll into the backs of their heads – “flight delay”.

Unfortunately, Christmas is peak flight time, which means a heightened chance of delays and even cancellations. So what can you do to mitigate the problem? Here are some of the ways that you can avoid an airport wait.

1. Avoid airports and airlines that have a history of high delays

If you’ve ever wondered which airports and airlines you should avoid in order to never have to hear those words again, don’t worry, has put in the time for you and analysed flight cancellation data from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).

Of all of Australia’s domestic airlines, it turns out that QantasLink has the highest flight cancellation rate, with around 30,617 flights cancelled since 2015 and a rate of 2.3%. In terms of airports, it’s Karratha Airport in Western Australia that’s seen the most cancellations. In second place is Gladstone in Queensland and in third place is Canberra.

Listen: The Mamamia Out Loud tackle a long-debated piece of plane etiquette. (Post continues after audio…)

2. Think about the weather

It’s no secret that business travellers most commonly fly early in the morning and late at night. But unfortunately, during the colder months, these times of day often see the worst of the weather. Fog is common in the darker hours of winter, which is why more rural airports often experience delays during these times. June and July are the months that experience the most cancellations of the year, so if you’re heading away, consider the warmer months.

3. Book a flight you know will be busy

Although the dream is to have a quiet plane, there’s something to be said for booking a flight that you know will be packed. This ensures your flight won’t be forfeited or cancelled as the result of seat vacancies. Flights taking off earlier in the morning are typically more full, as well as mid-evening hours.

airplane sear
Book a busy flight. Image: iStock

4. Fly with an airline you trust

Flying with a reliable and reputable airline is important. If you pick an airline that has a bad track record for delays and cancellations, you’re putting yourself at risk. Especially when you’re flying domestically, the price difference usually isn’t huge, so a reliable trip may be worth the extra cost.

5. Check in online

Hate queues? Checking in online can save you a lot of hassle. It also means you don’t have to get to the airport as early. While that doesn’t mean you can rock up half an hour before your flight, you will have a bit more freedom, especially if you’re not checking in any luggage.

Ultimately, all airlines, airports and times of the year are going to see delays. It’s just a matter of booking smart to ensure you have the best possible chance of your flight running to plan.

Bessie Hassan is a money expert at, Australia's largest comparison website.