The vast majority of the world’s busiest airports in in 2021 were in the United States. According to the most recent Airports Council International report, the top 10 airports in the world saw 463 million passengers in 2021. Eight of the top 10 were in the US.
The world’s top 10 busiest airports by number of travelers
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: 75,704,760
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: 62,465,756
- Denver International Airport: 58,828,552
- O’Hare International Airport in Chicago: 54,020,399
- Los Angeles International Airport: 48,007,284
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport: 43,302,230
- Orlando International Airport: 40,351,068
- Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport: 40,259,401
- Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport: 40,117,496
- Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas: 39,754,366
This is the first time Orlando has made the list since travel numbers started to be documented in 1991, according to TravelPulse. Dallas/Ft. Worth also saw a big move going up from the 10 spot in 2019. And though travel has been coming back in fits and starts, overall airport traffic is down by 18 percent compared to 2019.
While it’s a sign that people are more than ready to start traveling in the US again, it’s also led to lots of flight cancellations and frequently delayed airlines as the industry works to get back up to speed. Major US airlines are cutting planned summer flights by as much as 10 percent. Prices increased about 40 percent from January to March, and are expected to only get higher.
It’s not just the airlines, of course. Airport staff have felt the tourist crunch as well with some of the longest security line wait times found at busy hubs like Miami (about 47 minutes average time to get through security) and O’Hare (about 40 minutes on average).
This has led some changes to how people book travel. The optimum window for the cheapest flights, for example, has shifted to 21 to 127 days in advance.
Make sure to follow these tips for getting through TSA airport security faster, and look for the best frequent flyer program for you or use this Google Flights hack to get the best prices on flights. If you do find yourself stuck waiting, it might be worth it to pay for Priority Pass to gain access to 1,300 airport lounges around the world.