Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

The 10 Busiest Airports In The United States

The United States is home to some of the world's biggest and busiest airports leading travel through the pandemic and forging at light speed ahead. These 10 US airports were the busiest in 2022 (in terms of total passenger traffic), taking care of the wanderlust passengers from around the globe. 

The Busiest Airports In the United States

1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) - 93.6 million

Aerial view of Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport i
Aerial view of Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Editorial credit: Thomas Barrat / Shutterstock.com

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is the busiest airport in the world. It hosted over 100 million passengers in the pre-pandemic year, with some 2,700 flights per day. Although the number fell to 75.5 million passengers in 2021 and 871 flights on an average day in September of 2022, it is still far ahead of the global runner-up. ATL also held the title of the busiest airport in the world for over 20 years before Covid.ATL's grounds cover only 4,700 acres of land, which is 1,000 acres less than the tenth largest airport in the US. For 18 years and running, it has been renowned as the most efficient airport in the world, according to the Air Transport Research Society. The airport flawlessly orchestrates flights to over 225 global destinations with 18 domestic and foreign carriers and the tallest air traffic control tower in North America.

2. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) - 73.3 million

Tail wings of American Airlines lined up in a row at their gates
Tail wings of American Airlines lined up in a row at their gates at the DFW. Editorial credit: Pat Stornebrink / Shutterstock.com

The silver-medalist DFW, located in Dallas, Texas, is also the second biggest airport in the US, with an impressive 17,000-acre breadth and its own postal code. The airport averaged 770 flights per day in September 2022 and was the fourth-busiest airport in the world in October 2021. DFW boasts full-fledged police and fire departments and emergency medical services. Fort Worth's 23 airlines operate from 164 gates to some 260 global destinations. It is also home to the headquarters of the biggest airline operator, the American Airlines, with worldwide destinations. Despite (or due to) its size, DFW is environmentally-conscious, minimizing its ecological footprint as the world's largest carbon-neutral airport.

3. Denver International Airport (DEN) - 69.2 million

 Travelers in long lines at Denver International Airport going thru the Transportation Security Administrations
Travelers in long lines at Denver International Airport going thru the Transportation Security Administrations. Editorial credit: Jim Lambert / Shutterstock.com

The largest US airport by size gets the bronze in the busiest category, with an average of 751 flights in September this year. Located in Denver, Colorado, DEN rose dramatically in global rankings over the years, placing sixth amongst the busiest airports in the world. DEN is also the world's second-largest airport after King Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia. Its staggering size of some 34,000 acres, more-than-doubles US' second largest, Fort Worth.The International Airport is home to 24 airlines flying worldwide to 200 destinations. Travelers through DEN get to enjoy an incredible art collection throughout the airport, as well as countless shops. Other unique experiences include ice skating at Denver Plaza, therapy animals for kids and for calming the nerves before flying. The airport will soon be updated with more gates and new outdoor decks.

4. O'Hare International Airport (ORD) - 68.3 million

Travelers walk inside a terminal of the O’Hare International Airport
Travelers walk inside a terminal of the O’Hare International Airport. Editorial credit: Sleepy Mandy / Shutterstock.com

O'Hare International Airport is currently the fourth busiest airport in the US and the seventh largest at over 7,200 acres. It is located in Chicago, Illinois, and has a unique history as an aircraft manufacturing plant during WWII, known as Orchard Field. The location was chosen for the city's second airport after the war and opened commercially in 1955.ORD was the world's busiest airport from 1963 to 1998 and the sixth busiest today. The airport is home to two hub carriers, America Airlines with 71 gates and United Airlines with 82 gates, as well as 230 domestic and international destinations, and constantly growing. 

5. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) - 65.9 million

 Los Angeles International Airport with planes on the tarmac.
Los Angeles International Airport with planes on the tarmac. Editorial credit: Michael Gordon / Shutterstock.com

LAX takes fifth among US' busiest airports while hosting a record of four legacy airlines: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. The busy airport on the west coast in the City of Angels (Los Angeles), California, is the Pacific gateway to over 150 global cities.It is a widely-beloved airport with plenty of relaxing options, such as terrific restaurants, artwork strewing the terminals, and a petting place with volunteer pooches from the LAX Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) Program. 

6. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) - 55.1 million

NEW YORK, NY -9 AUG 2017- View of a giant American flag inside Terminal 1 at the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).
View of a giant American flag inside Terminal 1 at the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

In 2022, John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City recorded 26,919,982 passenger boardings, ranking it as the sixth busiest airport in the U.S. JFK manages over 1,300 flights every day and features six passenger terminals. Despite the high frequency of aircraft movement (a total of roughly 474 thousand in 2023), JFK passengers endure some of the longest taxi times at about 26 minutes before each flight. Regarding commerce and delivery, the airport handled over 1.2 million metric tons of cargo in the same year (the national total is between 30 and 40 million metric tons). Travel-wise, the reach of the airport extends across the planet, seen in how JFK has flight connections to over 120 foreign cities, including Nairobi and Casablanca.

7. Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) - 52.6 million

Harry Reid International Airport
Afternoon view of an airplane taking off in Harry Reid International Airport. Editorial credit: Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

The "Gambling City (Las Vegas)" in Nevada welcomes right off the trap at LAS with slot machines, something that only one other airport in the US boasts. For the more patient, The Strip is only two miles away and a real "beaut" from the air. In 2021, LAS funneled almost 40 million people out of its two terminals and 110 gates to 150 worldwide destinations.Harry Reid is home to big-budget carriers of Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Frontier Airlines, among 30 others using the airport. It was rebranded from McCarran International Airport, named in 1968, to Henry Reid International in February 2021 with new recent signage inside.

8. Miami International Airport (MIA) - 50.6 million

Miami International airport
American Airlines flights at the Miami International Airport. Editorial credit: Nadezda Murmakova / Shutterstock.com

The last on the list, MIA, located in  Miami, Florida,  hosted 13 million international passengers in 2021, which is more than any other airport in the US, and 11th-most in the world. The airport saw a total of 18.6 million passengers in 2020 and doubled in 2021 to 37.2 million passengers. MIA also saw 387,973 takeoffs and landings in 2021, which was more than double from the previous year, and ninth-most in the world.

9. Orlando International Airport (MCO) - 50.1 million

Orlando International Airport
People waiting in an atrium area of the airport for their flights at Orlando International Airport. Editorial credit: Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock.com

"Home of the most magical place on earth," Orlando, Florida, is also home to an impressive airport. MCO was a former Strategic Air Command installation, McCoy Air Force Base, that opened commercially under its 1942 designation in 1976. Today, MCO is the country's third-largest airport with year-round high foot traffic, which cannot be said for many others.In 2021, the airport saw over 40 million passengers in and out of its 129 gates, four concourses, and an average of 50 million travelers. MCO is a centrally-set "funnel" to many popular Sunshine State destinations and over 150 national and global destinations, including Latin America and the Caribbean. The delightful airport was voted best in the country by USA Today readers and plans to modernize with a third terminal. 

10. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) - 47.7 million

busy central concourse at Charlotte Douglas International airport.
The busy central concourse at Charlotte Douglas International airport. Editorial credit: Mystic Stock Photography / Shutterstock.com

Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, CLT stays busy with an average of 1,424 arrivals and departures and 118,636 travelers daily. In 2021, CLT saw 519,895 aircraft leaving and departing with a total of 43,302,230 passengers, still impressive after its record-breaking 50.2 million in 2019.CLT plays a significant role in the aviation industry, placing fifth for air traffic and hosting the second-largest American Airlines hub. It also boasts nonstop service to 183 worldwide destinations with eight major air carriers and 15 regional and three foreign flag carriers.

According to current stats, the US' top eight busiest airports were among the world's top 10 busiest airports. These leading airports meet the high demand and evolve for the future of travel.

35 Busiest US Airports

Rank Name Total Traffic in 2022
1 Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport 93,699,630
2 Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport 73,362,946
3 Denver International Airport 69,286,461
4 O'Hare International Airport 68,340,619
5 Los Angeles International Airport 65,924,298
6 John F. Kennedy International Airport 55,175,249
7 Harry Reid International Airport 52,667,741
8 Miami International Airport 50,684,396
9 Orlando International Airport 50,178,499
10 Charlotte Douglas International Airport 47,758,605
11 Seattle–Tacoma International Airport 45,964,321
12 Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport 44,397,854
13 Newark Liberty International Airport 43,402,059
14 San Francisco International Airport 42,281,641
15 George Bush Intercontinental Airport 40,977,839
16 General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport 36,090,176
17 Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport 31,686,404
18 Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport 31,241,822
19 LaGuardia Airport 29,040,963
20 Detroit Metropolitan Airport 28,160,572
21 Salt Lake City International Airport 25,752,783
22 Philadelphia International Airport 25,242,133
23 Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport 23,961,442
24 Baltimore/Washington International Airport 22,804,744
25 San Diego International Airport 22,009,921
26 Tampa International Airport 21,527,863
27 Washington Dulles International Airport 21,376,896
28 Austin–Bergstrom International Airport 21,089,289
29 Nashville International Airport 20,045,685
30 Chicago Midway International Airport 19,916,643
31 Daniel K. Inouye International Airport 18,346,044
32 Dallas Love Field 15,685,850
33 Portland International Airport 14,818,654
34 St. Louis Lambert International Airport 13,665,517
35 William P. Hobby Airport 13,113,866

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