Atlanta Ranks as America’s Most Crowded Airport

Atlanta's airport is easily one of the busiest in America. Forbes says it's also the most crowded, but it manages to keep passengers moving.

Don’t count on a lot of elbow room if you’ll be flying to or through Atlanta this summer.

According to Forbes research, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is the most crowded airport in America. Every day, an average of 250,000 travelers scramble through the facility, rolling their luggage behind them. With travelers coming, going, and making short stops en route to final destinations, the airport handles about 2,500 flights per day.

More details on the study:

The numbers talk: Forbes analyzed airport capacity data by looking at passenger traffic and information on terminal space and gates. According to 2012 data from the Airports Council International, ATL moved more than 95.4 million passengers through its 203 gates in about 6.8 million square feet of space. “We’re the only passenger aviation airport here for 6 million people,” noted Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Louis Miller. The second most crowded facility, Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, saw an all-time peak last year of about 41.2 million travelers moving through 1.5 million square feet of space.

Great service: Atlanta is within a two-hour flight of about 80 percent of the U.S. population, so the crowds there are no surprise. Despite the crush of travelers and arriving and departing aircraft, Hartsfield-Jackson also has one of the best on-time departure percentages—around 81 percent in April, compared to the average 74 percent. It’s also been ranked the best airport for weary travelers. Miller said the airport is constantly working out ways to move passengers quickly and seamlessly through the facility, but there are no current plans for expansion.

The runners-up: In addition to Charlotte Douglas, runners-up in the rankings included Los Angeles International, Chicago’s O’Hare International, and Seattle-Tacoma International airports.

(photo by Robert S. Donovan/Flickr)

Anita Ferrer

By Anita Ferrer

Anita Ferrer is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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