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America's new busiest airport is Dallas/Fort Worth, at least for now

June 05, 2020
3 min read
America's new busiest airport is Dallas/Fort Worth, at least for now
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Coronavirus is making for all kinds of new superlatives in the airline world. The latest? A new airport was crowned America's busiest last month.

Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), American's fortress hub in Texas, saw the most commercial service of any airport in the nation in May, The Dallas Morning News reported.

That title has long been held by either Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) or Chicago O'Hare (ORD). But not in May. As airlines pared down their schedules, air traffic patterns shifted.

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DFW saw 12,132 departures in May, according to data from travel analysis company OAG, cited by the Morning News. That traffic was largely thanks to American Airlines, which operated 11,109 of those flights, according to Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for AA.

DFW's traffic was significantly ahead of Chicago O'Hare (ORD), the second-busiest, which had 8,596 flights in May, according to OAG.

Even so, the total number of flights at DFW last month were just a fraction of the traffic numbers the airport saw in May 2019. For comparison, American alone operated 24,395 departures out of DFW in May of 2019.

Last year: It’s now official: Atlanta is the world’s busiest airport. Again…

DFW's takeover of the No. 1 spot wasn't the only unusual airport superlative recently. In late April, Alaska's Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport was able to claim it was the busiest in the world — albeit just for one day — as global airline schedules unwound during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Typically, the number of annual passengers is usually the most common barometer in determining the busiest airport. But the number of flights also is frequently used. For much of this century, either Atlanta or O'Hare has held at least one of those titles, with Atlanta often claiming both in recent years.

Related: American says goodbye to shortest domestic route crown with new flexibility to drop cities

As for DFW, its days at the top are likely to be numbered as demand for travel slowly rebounds. Even DFW's own website still bills it as the fourth-busiest airport in the country.

But, for a brief moment in this pandemic, Dallas seems to have been home to both the country's busiest airport and the world's largest airline — Southwest.

For now, everything really is bigger in Texas.

More: How far can airborne covid germs really spread on a plane?

Featured image by American Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliners (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees