Airports are gateways to our global adventures. They connect cities and countries for business travelers and vacationers alike. Travelers worldwide find it easier than ever to explore the globe, resulting in its increasing popularity.
Imagine an airport. Chances are you’re picturing a place full of people racing to get to their gates or standing in winding TSA lines. Airports are definitely busy places.
But some airports take ‘busy’ to a whole other level. Let’s dive into the top 10 busiest airports in 2023, ranked by passenger traffic.
#1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
Welcome to ATL, the world’s busiest airport in passenger traffic! It’s like a city within a city, always buzzing with energy and connecting people from all corners of the globe. With over 107 million passengers, it’s a place where stories from different countries intertwine, and adventures begin and end.
- Passenger Traffic: Over 107 million
- Interesting Fact: For over twenty years, ATL has ranked as the world’s busiest in passenger traffic for many years.
- Unique Amenities: The Plane Train: an automated people mover, 24/7 medical center
#2. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)
PEK is not just an airport; it’s a masterpiece of design that welcomes you to China. With its three giant terminals, it’s a gateway to the wonders of Asia.
- Passenger Traffic: Over 101 million
- Interesting Fact: It’s one of the main international gateways to China and has three massive terminals.
- Unique Amenities: Traditional Chinese gardens in the terminals, A mini replica of the Forbidden City
#3. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
LAX is like a star in the world of airports, shining brightly with its modern designs. It’s where the energy of L.A. meets travelers from every corner of the globe.
- Passenger Traffic: 88 million
- Interesting Fact: LAX’s iconic Theme Building, which resembles a flying saucer, has become a symbol of the airport and the city.
- Unique Amenities: VIP private suites for celebrities, an observation deck with panoramic views
#4. Dubai International Airport (DXB)
Imagine stepping into a world of luxury in DXB. The sophisticated decor matches the majesty of Dubai.
- Passenger Traffic: 86 million
- Interesting Fact: DXB boasts the world’s tallest air traffic control tower.
- Unique Amenities: Indoor tropical rainforest, Sleep ‘n Fly Lounge: sleep pods and cabins
#5. Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND)
HND is like a reliable friend to international travelers. Here flights have an impressive track record for being on time. It’s a hub that links Japan to the world, making sure all travelers enjoy Japan’s famous efficiency.
- Passenger Traffic: 85 million
- Interesting Fact: Haneda has won awards for being the most on-time major airport in the world.
- Unique Amenities: Edo-Koji: a shopping street that replicates the Edo period, Planetarium Starry Café
#6. London Heathrow Airport (LHR)
LHR is where classic meets modern for 80 million passengers. This place connects you to Europe’s past and present. It offers a blend of old and new experiences during your trip.
- Passenger Traffic: 80 million
- Interesting Fact: Heathrow has five terminals and only two runways.
- Unique Amenities: Personal Shopper Service, art gallery showcasing British artists
#7. Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)
PVG welcomes you to Shanghai, China’s dazzling financial hub. It’s a blend of modernity and efficiency, acting as a welcoming doorway to the city’s vibrant life and rapid development.
- Passenger Traffic: 79 million
- Interesting Fact: PVG has two main passenger terminals, with a third terminal planned to cope with the increasing passenger numbers.
- Unique Amenities: The Maglev Train: the world’s fastest commercial train, traditional Chinese medicine stores
#8. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
CDG is like a piece of art for 76 million passengers, with its unique and futuristic architecture. The airport has an air of romance and elegance, giving you a sneak peek into Paris’s charm.
- Passenger Traffic: 76 million
- Interesting Fact: CDG’s design is future-forward. It’s Terminal 1 is actually circular.
- Unique Amenities: Instant Paris: a leisure area to experience Paris without leaving the airport, luxurious beauty treatment centers
#9. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
DFW sees a lot of passengers off on their journeys each year. Here, warm Texan spirit meets international hustle.
- Passenger Traffic: 75 million
- Interesting Fact: DFW covers more than 17,000 acres, making it the second-largest airport by land area in the United States.
- Unique Amenities: Yoga studio with free classes, Minute Suites: private suites for short stays
#10. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
HKG is a vibrant hub for air travelers of every kind, offering a rich travel experience and direct connections to various international destinations. It’s where the energetic spirit of Hong Kong takes flight, connecting Asia with the world in a lively embrace.
- Passenger Traffic: 74 million
- Interesting Fact: HKG has an impressive 9-hole golf course near Terminal 2, allowing travelers to enjoy a quick game between flights.
- Unique Amenities: UA IMAX Theatre: the largest IMAX screen in Hong Kong, Aviation Discovery Centre: an aviation-themed exhibition
These airports not only serve as transportation hubs but also play a crucial role in the global economy, tourism, and business. Want to learn about the other busy airports that round out this list of the busiest airports in the world?
You can find a complete list of the world’s busiest airports at World Airport Codes.
Tips For Navigating the World’s Busiest Airports
Navigating these busy airports can be a challenge. But we’ve got some tips and tricks to help you get to your gate with as little stress as possible. Let’s dive in!
#1. Get There Early
The earlier you arrive the less rushed you’ll feel.
- Arrive Early: Ensure you’re at the airport at least 3 hours before international flights and 2 hours before domestic ones.
- Check-in Online: Utilize online check-in options to save time and avoid long queues.
#2. Pack Like a Pro
The more bags you take with you, the harder it will be to navigate these airports. Packing efficiently can make check-in a lot easier.
- Roll, Don’t Fold: Rolling clothes instead of folding can save space and prevent wrinkles.
- Travel-Size Toiletries: Stick to travel-size toiletries to breeze through security checks.
- Snack Smart: Pack small, healthy snacks to keep hunger at bay during waits.
#3. Security Check Smoothness
Make your security screening fly by with a little forethought.
- Dress Smart: Wear slip-on shoes and avoid belts or jewelry that may trigger security alarms.
- Organize Your Carry-On: Keep laptops and liquids in an easy-to-reach spot in your carry-on. That way you can quickly remove them during your security screening.
- Sign up for TSA Pre-check, Global Entry, or Clear: These programs can cut your security line wait times down to five minutes. Global Entry can help you get through Customs faster. Not every airport offers these, but if they do, save yourself a lot of time and stress and sign up!
#4. Lounge in Comfort
If you have some free time, find a place to relax.
- Lounge Access: Consider credit cards or loyalty programs that offer airport lounge access for a peaceful wait.
- Rest Zones: Look for designated rest zones to relax and recharge during layovers.
#5. Stay Connected
Technology is a big help when it comes to navigating airport chaos.
- Use the Free Wi-Fi: Take advantage of the free airport Wi-Fi for catching up on emails and the latest travel alerts.
- Power Up: Locate charging stations to keep your devices juiced up for the journey.
#6. Navigate with Ease
- Know Your Airport Maps: Familiarize yourself with airport maps available online or via airport apps. That way you’ll know just where to go.
- Focus on signage: Pay attention to clear, large signs directing you to gates, baggage claims, and more. This is especially important if you’re in a new airport or in a country where you don’t know the language.
#7. Local Transport Links
If your flight is delayed or canceled, you might need to stay overnight in a nearby hotel. It’s a good idea to know what your transportation options to and from the airport are, just in case.
- Research Transit options: Know the local transport options like buses, trains, or rental cars available at the airport.
- Airport Shuttles: Use airport shuttles for easy transport to and from hotels.
#8. Shop and Dine Wisely
Because these airports are the busiest in the world, chances are good that they’re great places to shop and eat.
- Duty-Free Deals: Explore duty-free shops for some great deals on products.
- Eat Smart: Choose restaurants or cafes that offer healthy and filling options.
#9. Entertain Yourself
Facing a flight delay or cancellation? Just think of it as more time to explore!
- Check out the airport attractions: Some airports feature beautiful art installations or unique attractions – take a stroll and explore!
- Browse the bookstores: Dive into a good book from an airport bookstore to pass the time.
#10. Be Kind and Patient
Being nice not only reduces your own stress but it helps put everyone you meet at ease.
- Stay Calm: Travel can be stressful, but maintaining calm ensures a pleasant experience for you and your fellow travelers.
- Kindness Counts: A smile or a kind word can go a long way, especially when interacting with busy airport staff.
Why You Need Travel Insurance
American travelers have a secret weapon: trip insurance. This type of travel insurance is essential if your trip involves flying out of one of these bustling airports. Typically, the busier the airport the greater the chance of a delayed or canceled flight.
Trip insurance covers expenses related to this type of disruption. It protects your investment and gives you the coverage you need to get your trip back on track. Curious about what else trip insurance can do for you? Find out more today.