Serpentine flow-fields have long been used in polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells for effective transportation of reactants from the flow-field to the reaction sites. It has been observed in the literature that localized flooding near the U-bend region of serpentine flow-fields occurs at high current densities. This has been attributed to the boundary layer separation and recirculation of flow in the U-bend. In the present study, it is established, using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations, that this is due to lower channel-to-channel cross-flow in the electrodes between consecutive serpentine channels rather than to the flow-field in the gas distribution channels. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.