America’s new busiest airport is Dallas/Fort Worth, at least for now
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.