The 25 Busiest Airports in the USA

The Tom Bradley Internal terminal at LAX.
••• The new Tom Bradley International terminal at LAX recently underwent a $1.9 billion renovation. Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

The United States has some of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, so it stands to reason that the country's airports are some of the globe's busiest. In this quick guide, we rank the USA's busiest airports. For quieter and crowd-free travel alternatives, I've also listed nearby airports when available.

  • 01 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Atlanta, Georgia
    Airport Code: ATL

    Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is the busiest passenger airport in the world (Beijing comes in second), with more than 100 million passengers a year, according to a traffic report by Airports Council International. It services the bustling Southern city of Atlanta and is the primary airport for visitors to the Southeast U.S. Plus, it's only a two-hour flight from 80 percent of the US population. More than Many southern regional airlines operate out of Hartsfield-Jackson and Delta Airlines has its hub here. ATL has 151 domestic and 28 international gates.

  • 02 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Chicago, Illinois
    Airport Code: ORD

    O'Hare was the busiest airport in the United States for years until Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson took that title away in the late 1990s. O'Hare is a major connecting airport for destinations in the Midwest and is a hub for United Airlines

  • 03 of 25
    The Tom Bradley Internal terminal at LAX.
    ••• The new Tom Bradley International terminal at LAX recently underwent a $1.9 billion renovation. Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

    Location/Closest City: Los Angeles, California
    Airport Code: LAX

    Los Angeles International is undergoing renovations to help handle the influx of visitors from Asia and the Pacific. Visit their site to check out the latest updates, tips for navigating the airport, and more. Besides being the main airport for travelers to Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Southern California, LAX handles many connections to Hawaii and destinations on the West Coast. Check out this Guide to Los Angeles Airports, including LAX and nearby airports in Burbank, Long Beach, Santa Ana, and Ontario.

  • 04 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas
    Airport Code: DFW

    Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is the busiest airport in the state of Texas. Because of the airport's size, the airport has its own postal code and post office. DFW has also been named one of the nation's most tech-friendly airports. American Airlines has a hub at DFW.

    Continue to 5 of 25 below.
  • 05 of 25

    Location/Closest City: New York City
    Airport Code: JFK

    The main international airport for New York City, JFK sees arrivals and departures from almost every international airline in the world. While a number of domestic flights are handled at JFK, the nearby LaGuardia Airport (near the end of this list) is NYC's main domestic airport. American Airlines and Delta Airlines have a large number of connections through JFK, as does the popular, low-cost airline JetBlue Airways.

  • 06 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Denver, Colorado
    Airport Code: DEN

    Denver International Airport is the largest airport by area in the United States (it's twice the size of Manhattan!). Many regional carriers, particularly Frontier Airlines and Southwest Airlines, connect to DEN. Travelers visiting the western states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Montana, and New Mexico will likely travel via Denver.

  • 07 of 25

    Location/Closest City: San Francisco, California
    Airport Code: SFO

    With three domestic terminals and one international terminal, San Francisco International Airport is the second largest airport in California and serves as a hub for West Coast travelers to and from Europe and Asia. The hip airline Virgin America has its base of operations at SFO and United has a large hub here. It's won awards for its green design and efforts to reduce waste, water use, and greenhouse gases .

  • 08 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Las Vegas, Nevada
    Airport Code: LAS

    Although the glitz of Las Vegas is minutes away, travelers need not leave the McCarran International Airport to gamble, as there are more than 1,000 slot machines available to avid gamblers right inside the terminals. Airlines that serve LAS include low-cost carriers like Southwest and Spirit, as well as United, American, and Delta.

    Continue to 9 of 25 below.
  • 09 of 25
    A plane takes off into the sunset above Sky Harbor Airport.
    ••• Catch a glimpse of the mountain ranges surrounding Phoenix on your way into Sky Harbor Airport. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Location/Closest City: Phoenix, Arizona
    Airport Code: PHX

    Serving Phoenix and points in throughout the Southwest, Phoenix Sky Harbor has 120 gates in three terminals. It's also dubbed "America's Friendliest Airport" for its stellar customer service. The main airlines here are U.S. Airways and Southwest.​

  • 10 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Houston, Texas
    Airport Code: IAH

    United Airlines' largest hub is at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, but it is far from the only carrier that services this busy Texan airport. Alaskan, American and Delta airlines also service the airport.The busiest routes to and from IAH include points in Central and South America.

  • 11 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Charlotte, North Carolina
    Airport Code: CLT

    This airport serves cities in the upper Southeast, including popular destinations in the Carolinas, and is often a common transfer airport alternative to Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport. It is well known for the rows of rocking chairs that line the main hall and provide a relaxing way to spend a layover. CLT is a hub for U.S. Airways and United.

  • 12 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Miami, Florida
    Airport Code: MIA

    Miami International Airport is the main U.S. gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean. MIA has the largest number of international passenger traffic after New York City's JFK International Airport. American Airlines has a major hub at MIA. Alternate airports to MIA are West Palm Beach Airport and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (near the bottom of this list).

    Continue to 13 of 25 below.
  • 13 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Orlando, Florida
    Airport Code: MCO

    Visitors to Walt Disney World and surrounding theme parks make Orlando International Airport one of the busiest airports in the USA. Many regional and low-cost airlines serve MCO, including Southwest and JetBlue.

  • 14 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Newark, New Jersey and New York City
    Airport Code: EWR

    Newark Liberty is a big hub for domestic and international travelers alike. It's undergone a $2.3 billion renovation in terminal A, which was built back in 1973, to handle the record-breaking number of passengers (which was more than 37.5 million total passengers last year). It often offers cheaper flights than its neighboring JFK and LaGuardia airports.

  • 15 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Seattle, Washington
    Airport Code: SEA

    The locals call this airport SEA-TAC. In addition to being a main airport for points in the Pacific Northwest, SEA-TAC is a hub for Alaska Airlines. It is a convenient 20 minutes away from downtown Seattle.

  • 16 of 25
    A plane is caught in a blizzard at MSP airport.
    ••• Don't be surprised if you caught in one of Minneapolis' famous blizzards on your way in or out of MSP airport. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Location/Closest City: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
    Airport Code: MSP

    Delta Airlines has a major hub at Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport. In addition to the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, MSP handles passengers going to and from destinations in the Upper Midwest, including Wisconsin, Michigan, and North and South Dakota.

    • Guide to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
    Continue to 17 of 25 below.
  • 17 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Detroit, Michigan
    Airport Code: DTW

    Although the name makes it sound like a regional airport, DTW is actually an international airport and is Delta Airlines' second largest hub.

    • Guide to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
  • 18 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Airport Code: PHL

    U.S. Airways has one of its largest hubs at this East Coast airport. PHL serves Philadelphia but is also an ideal airport for passengers coming from anywhere in Pennsylvania, south New Jersey, and the Delaware Valley as it is less crowded than the three major New York City-area airports, JFK, LGA, and EWR.

  • 19 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Boston, Massachusetts
    Airport Code: BOS

    Logan International Airport is the main airport for New England destinations, such as Boston; Providence Rhode Island; Portland, Maine; Vermont; and New Hampshire. Airlines Delta, JetBlue, and U.S. Airways all have large hubs here.

  • 20 of 25

    Location/Closest City: New York City
    Airport Code: LGA

    LaGuardia Airport is known as New York City's domestic airport, and it handles the bulk of airline commuter shuttles to and from New York. It is located in the northern part of NYC in the Queens borough.

    Continue to 21 of 25 below.
  • 21 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    Airport Code: FLL

    Some travelers like to use Fort Lauderdale International Airport as an alternate airport to Miami (it's approximately 20 miles north of Miami), as it's an ideal entry point for visiting the beaches of south Florida. Southwest, Delta, and JetBlue are some of the major carriers at FLL. It also sees flights from many small, regional airlines.

  • 22 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, DC
    Airport Code: BWI

    Located south of Baltimore, Maryland, BWI is often used as an alternate airport for travelers visiting Washington, DC as is it only one hour and 20 minutes away. BWI is a major East Coast hub for Southwest Airlines.

    • Guide to Baltimore-Washington International Airport
  • 23 of 25
    Washington DC's cherry blossoms in bloom with the Capital building in the background
    ••• Downtown Washington DC is only 35 minutes from IAD. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    Location/Closest City: Washington, DC
    Airport Code: IAD

    Located in northern Virginia, Dulles is the main international airport for Washington, DC. (The main domestic airport for DC is Washington Reagan National Airport—DCA) Dulles is a hub for United airlines. 

  • 24 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Salt Lake City, Utah
    Airport Code: SLC

    A hub for Delta Airlines, Salt Lake City International Airport serves many connecting flights to western destinations, in particular, ski resorts. The popular Park City resort is only 45 minutes away.

    Continue to 25 of 25 below.
  • 25 of 25

    Location/Closest City: Chicago, Illinois
    Airport Code: MDW

    Chicago's smaller airport is an alternative the city's busy O'Hare International Airport (near the top of this list). Southwest Airlines has the largest presence at MDW.