This Is the Busiest Airplane Route in America

Updated: Nov. 09, 2022

Regardless of how busy the cities themselves are, some airport pairs send more traffic back and forth than others. Can you guess the most popular route?

Airplane06photo/ShutterstockSome cities are more popular destinations for fliers than others. For instance, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta is the busiest airport in America, according to the Airports Council International. But it isn’t part of the most popular flight route between cities.

Routes Online took data from air travel data company OAG’s schedule analyzer to figure out the busiest route in the Americas. Between North and South America, the busiest flight route is between Sao Paulo Congonhas and Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont. The route between the Brazilian hubs sees more than 4 million passengers every year, according to Routes Online. (Every passenger should quit making these 16 airport mistakes before their next flight.)

In just the United States, the most popular route by far runs between Los Angeles International and John F. Kennedy International in New York. In a single year, 2.9 million passengers take a flight from one to the other, making it the third most high-traffic plane route in the Americas. The 2,474-mile trip costs $337.66 on average.

Another New York airport, LaGuardia, is part of the country’s second most popular flight route, between LGA and Chicago O’Hare, which sees 2.4 million passengers every year. Los Angeles makes another appearance on the list, too, because the third most traveled air route goes between LA and San Francisco, with 2.2 million travelers.

Here’s a full list of the five busiest U.S. air routes:

Rank Route between cities Number of passengers
1 Los Angeles International (LAX) and New York JFK (JFK) 2,873,316
2 New York LaGuardia (LGA) and Chicago O’Hare (ORD) 2,362,480
3 San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles International (LAX) 2,238,043
4 Los Angeles International (LAX) and Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) 1,990,802
5 San Francisco (SFO) and New York JFK (JFK) 1,844,864

[Source: Travel + Leisure]