These Are the Busiest Travel Days in Every Major Airport in the United States

If you're headed to the airport and think it looks more crowded than ever, you're right: this summer is gearing up to be one of the busiest in the skies. To avoid the crush, we've got the scoop on the busiest travel days from AirHelp so the only lines you'll be waiting in this summer are for the ice cream man.

Blur background of people waiting indoor airport gates - Travel with flights concept - Defocused image - Soft rose quartz filtered look with artificial sunlightDisobeyArt/Shutterstock

According to AAA, this Fourth of July a record-breaking 3.8 million Americans traveled by air, a nearly 8 percent increase from the year before, and the ninth year of consecutive air travel increases. And the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says they’re preparing for a record-breaking travel season this summer, predicting 243 million people will shuffle through security checkpoints nationwide between Memorial Day and Labor Day (Airlines for America, an aviation advocacy group, actually predicts an even higher number of 246 million passengers flying this summer, or 2.7 million every day). That’s a 3.7 percent year increase over last summer, meaning an additional 96,000 people heading to airports every single day this summer.

With numbers like these, you might not be able to completely avoid other flyers at the airport this summer, but you can prepare, which is often half the battle. First, be sure to get to the airport early to ace the security line, we’re talking at least 90 minutes for domestic flights and 2.5 hours for international trips. Now would also be a good time to apply for TSA PreCheck if you haven’t already to expedite your security line experience. Bring snacks and food from home as well as refillable water bottles so you’re not stuck waiting on line for overpriced airport food. Also, check out these 12 golden rules to take the stress out of air travel.

And finally, do your research before you book your flight. AirHelp, the world’s leading air passenger rights company which helps passengers apply for compensation from a delayed, canceled, or overbooked flight, has rounded up the busiest airports based on summer 2017 travel between Memorial Day and Labor Day. They’ve also provided the best days and times to travel to avoid the crowds.

The Busiest Travel Days by Airport

1. IAH – George Bush Intercontinental Airport: June 30

2. ATL – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: July 21

3. DEN – Denver International Airport: August 11

4. DFW – Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: July 17

5. CLT – Charlotte Douglas International Airport: June 30

6. ORD – Chicago O’Hare International Airport: August 10

7. LAX – Los Angeles International Airport: July 14

8. SFO – San Francisco International Airport: August 17

9. JFK – John F. Kennedy International Airport: July 14

10. EWR – Newark Liberty International Airport: July 20

According to Henrik Zillmer, CEO of AirHelp, if you’re flying on one of the most popular travel days, consider flying during an off-peak travel time for that airport. At most U.S. airports, including the ones listed above, flights departing between 6:00 a.m. and 11:59 a.m. experience the least delays and best on-time performance.

The day of the week you’re traveling makes a difference, too. Here’s the best day of the week to fly per airport based on on-time performance:

· IAH – George Bush Intercontinental Airport: Friday

· ATL – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: Wednesday

· DEN – Denver International Airport: Sunday

· DFW – Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: Tuesday

· CLT – Charlotte Douglas International Airport: Sunday

· ORD – Chicago O’Hare International Airport: Saturday

· LAX – Los Angeles International Airport: Saturday

· SFO – San Francisco International Airport: Saturday

· JFK – John F. Kennedy International Airport: Sunday

· EWR – Newark Liberty International Airport: Sunday

Check out our travel secrets to guarantee a stress-free trip, and keep your eye on the prize: Summer vacation!

Popular Videos

Melissa Klurman
Melissa Klurman is a freelance travel writer and editor with more than 27 years experience who reports on travel trends around the planet for Reader's Digest. Winner of a Lowell Thomas Gold Award for excellence in travel writing, she started her career as an editor at both Frommer’s and Fodor’s travel guides, then went on to write about travel for many publications including Family Traveller, Parents, and Working Mother magazines. More recently she has been a contributing editor at Saveur, Islands, and Caribbean Travel and Life and a senior contributor at Travelocity. A New Jersey native, ice cream addict, and a lifelong Bruce Springsteen fan, Klurman lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, son, and rescue dog.