What’s the busiest airport in the United States? It depends on how you count.
The most popular measure is passenger traffic: how many people are flying to, from, or through the airport. The busiest airport by that measure is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, which had almost 100 million passengers in 2018. But that’s not a very interesting measure, because it’s so dependent on where the airport is: if we were to move all of Atlanta’s flights to a small rural airport in the middle of nowhere, it would be busy too.
A better measure is flights per day. By that standard, Chicago O’Hare is busiest with about 915 flights per day.
If we count passengers per flight, O’Hare is again number one, with about 141 passengers per flight. But if we look at seats per flight instead of passengers per flight (because planes have more seats than they do passengers), Newark wins out with an average of 150 seats per flight.
If we look instead at aircraft operations (takeoffs and landings), Southern California Logistics Airport comes out on top with over 285 thousand operations per year. That seems pretty impressive until you realize that SCLA only has two runways; San Francisco International Airport has only three but handles
tl;dr: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
I was curious how airports ranked in terms of popularity, and I couldn’t find any good list. So I figured I’d make one.
I came up with the following list of criteria for ranking popularity:
Number of passengers per year
Number of flights per year
Percentage of flights that are domestic (in the U.S.) vs international
Number of destinations available (direct flights)
After going to the Federal Aviation Administration site, I found a table listing airports by their number of passengers in 2017. After getting to the top 50 airports, I decided to stop there. The remaining 20 or so were much smaller, and all the other airports had fewer than 1000 passengers arriving per day. That seems like it would be pretty empty compared to the busier ones, so I stopped looking at them.
The busiest airport in the United States is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. If you’ve ever flown into Atlanta, GA, chances are you have flown through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Hartsfield-Jackson services over 88 million passengers every year coming and going. The airport serves as a hub for AirTran Airways, Delta Airlines, and ExpressJet Airlines.
The second busiest airport in the United States is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with just under 70 million passengers annually. LAX serves as a hub for Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Airlines. LAX is located in Los Angeles, California and is the primary airport serving Southern California. When flying to LAX try to fly into Terminal 6 as it has been rated the best terminal at the airport according to many polls and surveys.
O’Hare International Airport near Chicago, IL comes in third with about 64 million passengers passing through each year. O’Hare serves as a hub for American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines. O’Hare’s Terminal 2 has been rated the absolute worst terminal of any major U.S. airport by many sources including Conde Nast Traveler magazine in 2005.
In the United States, there are over 450 commercial airports. Each year, over 900 million passengers use these airports to travel across the country. Because of this high volume of traffic, these airports are often extremely busy.
The busiest airport in the United States is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Atlanta has been the busiest airport since 1998 and the number of passengers has grown by 80% since 2000. In 2017, Atlanta saw 104,171,935 passengers pass through its gates. It is a major hub for Delta Airlines and Southwest Airlines and offers a total of 192 destinations from its five terminals.
In comparison to other major airports in the world, Atlanta ranks as the sixth busiest in terms of passenger traffic and ninth busiest in terms of international passenger traffic. The number one spot belongs to Hartsfield-Jackson Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in China with 124,628,764 passengers in 2017.
With its spectacular views, futuristic architecture, and miles of walkways, the design of the world’s busiest airport is a sight to behold.
Over the last 20 years, the world’s largest airport has been in a constant state of flux as it takes on new renovations and additions. This year, Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport (ATL) beat out Chicago O’Hare International Airport to become the busiest airport in the United States. Its 472 gates serve over 104 million passengers per year.
The airport’s design is meant to reflect its local culture through its use of natural materials, such as wood and granite; warm colors; and lighting that is meant to evoke sunlight passing through Georgia pines.
The airport’s main terminal serves as a hub for all airlines that fly into Atlanta. The concourse level is split into two levels: lower level for arrivals and upper level for departures. It features long walkways that connect all of the terminals, allowing you to easily get from one place to another without having to go outside.
There are also several restaurants located inside the airport that offer everything from fast food chains like McDonalds and Starbucks to local Atlanta favorites like Chick-fil-A and Waffle House. You can even find a Krispy Kreme
Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world, with more than 135 million passengers passing through in 2018. The number of passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been steadily increasing at a rate of 4% per year since 2009, and if this trend continues, the airport will serve more than 147 million passengers in 2020.
Atlanta’s airport is also the busiest airport for both domestic and international flights. Of the over 135 million passengers who passed through Atlanta’s airport in 2018, about 109 million flew domestically. The second busiest airport for both domestic and international flights was Beijing Capital International Airport, with over 100 million passengers in 2018.
Other well known airports that are among the top ten busiest airports worldwide include Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Chicago-O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) (HND), Dubai International Airport (DXB), Heathrow Airport (LHR), Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS), Frankfurt Airport (FRA), Hong Kong International Airport (HKG).
Of those top ten busiest airports in the world, four are located in Asia, three are located in Europe, two are located on the North American continent and one is located on the Middle Eastern continent.
For most people, flying is a necessary evil; something to be endured in between sips of vodka at the airport bar and arriving at your destination. But for others, flying is a passion, a calling, even a hobby (yes, those people actually exist). These people keep track of plane tail numbers and plane models on sight. They are the ones who get mad when their aisle seat gets taken by someone else. They know where the best bars and lounges are in every major airport…and they have strong opinions about them.
These people are known as aviation enthusiasts or “plane spotters.” And whether they’re hard-core or just casual, these plane spotters can tell you all sorts of things about the airports they love. Which airports have the most flights per day? Which have the most international routes? Which offer the best views of incoming and outgoing planes? And which are just plane awful?
We reached out to our panel of aviation aficionados to find out just what it is that makes an airport great — or not so great. We asked them to take a look at dozens of airports around the country, then rate them on everything from location and amenities to food options and quality of staff. We also asked them to consider how safe travelers feel