Busiest Air Routes in the USA

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, these are the most popular flight paths in the United States.

Due to the long distances between major cities and the geography of the US, air transportation is the most popular and preferred mode of transportation for trips over 300 miles. The country has an extensive air transportation network with cities connected to each other by different air routes which serve millions of passengers annually. Busiest air routes in the US are air routes that connect two big cities that are significantly far from each other like Los Angeles and New York. The air routes are served by some of the country’s major airlines that offer scheduled direct flights on daily basis. These are some of the busiest air routes in the US.

Air Routes

Chicago to New York Air Route

Chicago and New York are among the busiest travel hubs in the United States. Both cities house numerous airports for both domestic and international flight paths. The Chicago to New York air route connects two of the most populated cities in the US with high demand for air travel. Chicago O’Hare International Airport connects daily to JFK International Airport in New York. With a flight time of only two hours, there are several airlines serving the route including Delta, Spirit, Southwest, and American Airline. With four million passengers commuting the Chicago to New York route, it was the busiest air route in the US between September 2014 and August 2015.

Los Angeles to San Francisco Air Route

The 337-mile stretch between Los Angeles and San Francisco forms one of the United States’ busiest air routes. The air route is served by more than 420 flights per week with five airlines flying direct from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Some of the airlines serving the route include American Airlines, Delta, United, United Express, and Virgin America. Some of these airlines offer cheap flights as part of their strategy to attract more passengers with the cheapest return flight costing about $92. The average flight time between Los Angeles and San Francisco is one hour and 19 minutes. Approximately 3.6 million passengers used the Los Angeles air route between September 2014 and August 2015 making it the second busiest air route in the US.

Los Angeles to New York Air Route

Los Angeles and New York operate as dream cities for the rest of the United States. The long distance between them, approximately 2500 miles, is not an obstacle to most of the passengers using the Los Angeles to New York air route. Flying direct, the flight time clocks in at six hours. The air route tops the list as the busiest long-haul route in the US. The air route served approximately 3.4 million passengers between September 2014 and August 2015. The major airlines, as well as other smaller budget airlines, offer direct services from either of the cities through JFK international Airport or Newark Liberty International Airport.

Chicago to Los Angeles Air Route

Chicago and Los Angeles are two cities with different settings. Chicago’s skyline rises from the glittering waters of Lake Michigan while Los Angeles floats between the Pacific Ocean and the shadows of Gabriel Mountains. The Chicago to Los Angeles air route serves a flight time of approximately four hours and thirty-five minutes for direct flights. The O’Hare and Midway airports in Chicago host direct flights to Los Angeles through a range of airlines including Southwest, United, America, and Spirit among other airlines. The air route is one of the most congested in the US with over three million passengers using the air route between September 2014 and August 2015.

How Does the US Busiest Air Routes Compare to Other Air Routes?

The busiest air route in the world, Jeju to Seoul air route, served over 6 million passengers between September 2014 and August 2015. During this period, the busiest air route in the US served about 4 million passengers. In fact, the busiest air route in the US, Chicago to New York, ranks eighth busiest air route in the world. The Los Angeles to San Francisco air route which is the second busiest air route in the US, is the world’s thirteenth busiest air route.

What is the Busiest Air Route in the United States?

The air route between Chicago and New York is the most popular air route in the United States.

Busiest Air Routes in the USA

RankCity ACity BPassengers (September 2014 - August 2015, Millions)
1ChicagoNew York4
2Los AngelesSan Francisco3.6
3Los AngelesNew York3.4
4ChicagoLos Angeles3
5MiamiNew York2.8
8AtlantaNew York2.6
10ChicagoWashington, DC2.6

About the Author

John Misachi is a seasoned writer with 5+ years of experience. His favorite topics include finance, history, geography, agriculture, legal, and sports. 


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