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Between July and September of this year, chronically delayed flights included Alaska Airlines between Portland and San Francisco. (AP Photo/File)

Fly smart and avoid delays

Want to know the secret for avoiding airline delays? Smart planning means smart flying, which also means fewer setbacks. To help save time, there are things you can do even before you leave home.

It's not just the airline you fly, but what time of day you depart. Flights are more likely to depart on time early the morning, between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. By midday, those on-time rates drop dramatically.

It also depends on what time of day your flight arrives. Again, morning is your best bet.

The Department of Transportation also reports the worst flights by route. Between July and September of this year, chronically delayed flights included Alaska Airlines between Portland and San Francisco, which was late more than 67 percent of the time; and Southwest between Denver and San Francisco.

That's when you want think creatively about alternate airports: SFO has all those delays because of the fog, but nearby Oakland and San Jose don't have the same problems.

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Peter Greenberg Staff, Travel Today
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