These Are the 10 Busiest Flight Routes in the World

Yes, some routes are WAY more popular than others!

passenger In the Malaysia airport06photo/Shutterstock

It goes without saying that most airports are notoriously busy during the holidays. But no matter what time of year you travel, plenty of planes still seem to be packed 24/7. No, it’s not just your imagination; some routes are more popular than others, and your hometown’s hub might be on the list.

Fortunately for jet-setters, data from UK-based aviation company OAG gives us a glimpse at some of the busiest flight routes in the world. Researchers tallied the number of flight departures between the two destinations in 2017 to create the ranking. How does your usual path measure up?

Surprisingly, the world’s most crowded flight path is between the South Korean island of Jeju and the country’s capital city, Seoul. Last year, 64,991 planes flew the 282-mile stretch between the two locations. That’s about 178 flights per day, Forbes reports.

But if you think this route is packed with business travelers, you might want to think again. According to Forbes, Jeju is a popular destination with Korean and Chinese tourists who are looking for a tropical vacation.

Meanwhile, the flight path from Melbourne to Sydney, Australia was the second busiest route, reaching 54,519 departures in 2017. Third place went to the Mumbai to Delhi route, which had 47,462 total departures.

As for U.S. routes, only one made the list: Los Angeles to San Francisco. That path alone had nearly 35,000 departures last year. (By the way, California also lays claim to the shortest flight in America, which is only 16 minutes long.)

Without further ado, the full ranking is listed below. If you’re more worried about getting to your destination on time, these are the most punctual airports in the world.

RankRoute between citiesDepartures
1Jeju to Seoul, South Korea64,991
2Melbourne to Sydney, Australia54,519
3Mumbai to Delhi, India47,462
4Fukuoka to Tokyo Haneda, Japan42,835
5Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo Congonhas, Brazil39,325
6Sapporo to Tokyo Haneda, Japan38,389
7Los Angeles to San Francisco, California, USA34,897
8Brisbane to Sydney, Australia33,765
9Cape Town to Johannesburg, South Africa31,914
10Beijing to Shanghai, China30,029

[Source: Forbes]

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Brooke Nelson
Brooke Nelson is a researcher at PBS FRONTLINE in Boston, Massachusetts, and writes regularly about travel, health, and culture news for Reader’s Digest. Previously she was a staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her articles have also appeared on MSN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance, among other sites. She earned a BA in international relations from Hendrix College. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeTNelson.