These Will Be the Busiest Airports in 2023

Updated: Dec. 11, 2023

Can you guess which airports are the busiest of the year?

After countless pandemic travel standstills, slumps and surges, travel rates are finally on track to revert to pre-pandemic levels. The result of such unpredictable travel trends over the past few years has led to staffing issues—we all remember those notorious holiday airline staffing shortages. Even some of the best airlines experienced them.

However, these trends don’t just apply to airlines. They also apply to airport security. Specifically, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) cautions that certain airports across the country may be busier than usual. Find out what the occasional SSSS on boarding pass means.

Also, explore these family-sized suitcases to cut baggage fees.

Why are airports so busy?

While passengers are busy wondering what a TSA agent first notices about you or what they aren’t telling you, TSA has been trying to keep up with the increasing travel demand. According to TSA administrator David Pekoske, a few airports, in particular, can expect to feel the brunt of it.

The issue is that TSA staffing shortages nationwide have created much longer lines and inconveniences at certain airport security locations. Some of the numbers at TSA airport checkpoints even exceed pre-pandemic levels.

“We have shortfalls across the system,” Pekoske explains in an interview with Travel Weekly. “The peak periods are higher peaks than in the past… What we do is we move people around during busy travel periods,” he states.

Which airports will be the busiest?

You can expect airports in these areas to be busy because of the large increases in the number of passengers flowing through their terminals:

  • Boston-area airports
  • Sunbelt airports
  • Denver-area airports
  • New York City-area airports, specifically Newark and LaGuardia

Is there any way to combat the busyness?

Overview of suitcasesPeter Dazeley/Getty Images

However, because TSA is aware of which airports have experienced surges, they’re taking steps to address the activity. “We know which airports will be the busiest, and we’re doing work to expand infrastructure together with the airports,” Pekoske points out.

One of the most productive ways airports across the nation are keeping up with busier travel demands is with technology upgrades. Upgrades make the airport security process run not only smoother, but quicker.

What kinds of technology upgrades has TSA been testing?

In TSA’s case, upgrading body scanning technology has helped ease travel surge burdens. These upgrades “reduces our false-alarm rate” and “reduce errors, which also improves the customer experience,” Pekoske explains. “The upgrades began in December and will be done in the summer,” he asserts.

Busy airports like Denver, Phoenix and D.C.-area airports have further been allowing digital ID iPhone verification. While it may take a few years to fully see digital changes like these sweep the country, TSA says if it continues to go well they are planning to expand digital verification.

And another sure-fire way to truly speed up your TSA process no matter where you fly from nationwide— enrolling in TSA pre-check which you can do at your local Staples. Either way, now that we know the busiest airports, we can continue to add to our list of the best places to travel to in 2023.


  • Travel Weekly: “TSA chief David Pekoske on the state of airport security checkpoints”