Congress reacted swiftly when furloughs of FAA air traffic controllers caused a surge in flight delays. But even without the cutbacks, travelers at these airports feel lucky when they depart on time.
Chicago's O'Hare International was the nation's second busiest airport in 2012, with more than 310,000 flights.
O'Hare itself was developed to ease overcrowded conditions at Midway, which for years was the world's busiest airport.
The airport's on-time departure performance improved in 2012, rising to 76.6% of all departures from 74.4% in 2011.
NEXT: George Bush Intercontinental (Houston)