Flying already sucks without having to sit in the airport for 4 extra hours while your plane undergoes mysterious “mechanical repairs.” So here are some helpful planning tips to help decrease your chances of having to endure delay hell.

Are you planning your vacation? Book a flight for an important business trip? Flight delays can be a terrible start to your journey, especially if they have lost a connection or forced you to spend the night at the airport.

How often does this happen?

According to the latest report released by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), only about 75% of flights in the United States depart on time. This means that 1 in 4 major US airlines are delayed or canceled. European data show similar results.

The causes are usually beyond your control – flights are often disrupted due to inclement weather, mechanical problems, or airspace congestion. No passenger or airline can control the weather, air traffic, or political events.