10 Busiest Airports in the U.S.
Going through a busy airport can be a stressful affair. The lines are hellishly long, the gates are crowded, and everyone seems to be on the verge of a stroke.
Sadly, we don't always get a say on which airport we fly in or out of when we travel. But on the off-chance that you can decide, it helps to know the 10 busiest airports in the U.S.
Avoid them if possible — or seek them out if you love to be surrounded by hoards of people. To each their own.
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10. Miami International Airport
Location: Miami, Florida
Yearly passengers: 37.3 million
Miami's airport is — how shall we put this nicely? — a dumpster fire of chaos that makes us wonder if it's even worth traveling to the city. It's busy and disorganized, and its structure seems to change every single time you travel to it. The food offerings aren't great (except for Versailles Restaurant), and the TSA agents are ruder than in most other places, something we didn't think was possible.
But we'll give MIA credit for being a major connection point for the U.S. and Latin America and the Caribbean. Also, its pretty great if you want to do some shopping while waiting for your flight.
Where to stay: Pullman Miami Airport
*Rankings are based on an Airports Council International 2022 report for passenger traffic.
9. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Yearly passengers: 38.8 million
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport serves as the gateway to Arizona's capital and its metropolitan area. This includes Phoenix, of course, but also other exciting destinations like Mesa, Tempe and Scottsdale. All in all, it's not an exciting airport and mostly stands out because of the impressive number of passengers that fly through here each year.
Where to stay: Crowne Plaza Phoenix Airport
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8. Harry Reid International Airport
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Yearly passengers: 39.8 million
Formerly known as the McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas' main transit hub is as much of a mess as you would imagine. There's really only so much the airport can do to maintain order when most people arriving are drunk and willing to gamble away their life savings on a weekend.
Still, it doesn't do too badly, considering almost 40 million people use it each year. Plus, it also serves as the main airport for incredible destinations like Zion National Park in Utah.
Where to stay: Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas
7. Orlando International Airport
Location: Orlando, Florida
Yearly passengers: 40.4 million
Orlando International Airport proves that being busy doesn't mean being disorganized. The airport has invested into its design, creating a pleasing aesthetic that gets you in the mood for traveling. Its public art exhibitions and interactive installations help keep kids entertained — a huge relief for parents dealing with post-Disney World burnout.
Where to stay: Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport
6. Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Yearly passengers: 43.3 million
Shockingly, Charlotte has a higher passenger volume than airports in cities like Boston and New York. But the city connects the south with the northeast through layovers. The airport also serves as a main travel hub for several small cities in the Carolinas. A Booking.com report states that it has a decent number of shops and restaurants, with 50 and 64, respectively.
Where to stay: Courtyard by Marriott Charlotte Airport North
5. Los Angeles International Airport
Location: Los Angeles, California
Yearly passengers: 48 million
Apparently, Los Angeles continues to lure in travelers with its glamorous clubs, pretty beaches and numerous theme parks. Besides being the gateway to one of the most exciting cities in the country, LAX connects the West Coast to major Asian destinations like Tokyo, Japan, and Seoul, South Korea.
We won't lie; the airport isn't nice. Nor is it organized. But we guess it's worth passing through it to get to cool places like Hawaii.
Where to stay: Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport
4. O’Hare International Airport
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Yearly passengers: 54 million
Unlike most airports on this list, O'Hare is a pleasure to fly through. Will the lines be long? Of course! A staggering 54 million people transit through here, so there is no way around it. But you'll find good food and a beautiful design that almost makes you feel like you're in a modern art exhibit.
The airport's on-time performance is great, and there are 105 shops and 165 dining spots, as per the Booking.com study. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Chicago O'Hare is the best airport in the U.S.
Where to stay: Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport
3. Denver International Airport
Location: Denver, Colorado
Yearly passengers: 58.8 million
Denver International isn't just the third-busiest airport in the country. It's also the largest airport in both the U.S. and the entire world! Overall, it's fairly organized and well-connected to the city through public transit. The dining options aren't amazing and constant renovations can be a headache. But, hey, for a place that receives 58.8 million people annually, it's got it pretty together.
Where to stay: The Westin Denver International Airport
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2. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
Location: Dallas, Texas
Yearly passengers: 62.5 million
The same can't be said for Dallas-Fort Worth. Serving up a massive area of Texas, the airport is like a labyrinth that must have been designed by the same people that do lab-rat cages. Short connections are your worst enemy here, as you'll probably have to spend a considerable amount of time going from one part of the airport to the other.
We'll forgive DFW for its sins, though, because it serves Texas BBQ, and that's worth any travel headache.
Where to stay: Grand Hyatt DFW
1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Yearly passengers: 75.7 million
Here it is. Atlanta receives the crown as the busiest airport in the U.S. But, even more impressively, it's also the busiest in the world! An almost unbelievable 75.7 million people fly to this airport each year — that's about 300,000 per day. Try to wrap your head around that.
The gigantic airport is not our favorite. Baggage always takes a thousand years to come out, the lines are literally eternal, and they have the rudest airport agents in the country. But we'll be fair and acknowledge that the airport doesn't do too badly considering the passenger volume it has to deal with daily.
Where to stay: Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel