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World's busiest airports 2008


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The new list is out. Based on passengers (not freight):

  1. ATL - Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson 89.4 million
  2. ORD - Chicago O'Hare 76 million
  3. LHR - London Heathrow 68 million
  4. HND - Tokyo Haneda 67 million
  5. LAX - Los Angeles - 62 million
  6. CDG - Paris De Gaulle 59.9 million
  7. DFW - Dallas-Fort Worth International 59.7 million
  8. FRA - Frankfurt am Main 54.2 million
  9. PEK - Beijing Capital 53.6 million
  10. MAD - Madrid Barajas 52.1 million

There's lots of Continental employees on HAIF. Anyone know how IAH did?

Just found the list of the top freight airports:

  1. MEM - Memphis
  2. HKG - Hong Kong
  3. ANC - Anchorage

I know MEM is FedEx's main hub, and all FedEx deliveries to the United States from Asia come through ANC. DHL goes through HKG.

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I know MEM is FedEx's main hub, and all FedEx deliveries to the United States from Asia come through ANC. DHL goes through HKG.

Most of the Alaskan airports have a tremendously large amount of air freight relative to the size of the metro areas that they serve. Shouldn't be much of a shocker.

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Can we make this a thread about avoiding those 10 airports whenever possible? I've never once flown through ORD and had an on-time arrival or departure. Not once. And it's never just a little delay, either -- it's always one of those "glad I brought a travel pillow, where's the nearest shower" delays. I also never understood why a major transportation hub would have developed in a region that has so many snow days... :wacko:

ATL has gotten a lot better in recent years, but I still hate the fact that Delta routes every single one of their flights through ATL before it goes anywhere else. My mongrel idiot of a cousin made travel plans recently (without consulting anyone else) that involved her flying to ATL from DFW to get to Phoenix, courtesy of Delta. WTF?

We never fly into LHR. Manchester's airport is awesome -- the Love Field of England, if you will -- although I suppose it isn't for everyone, especially if you're only flying into the country for a few days or only want to see London. But the trip from Manchester to London is a very short two-hour train ride through some lovely country. I equate it to flying Southwest into Little Rock and then driving to Memphis to avoid the extreeeeeemely expensive rates at MEM.

Now that I read this, I'm thinking I might have weird travel habits... :unsure:

Anyway, I'm surprised to see that Frankfurt is so far down the list. They used to be crazy busy.

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Can we make this a thread about avoiding those 10 airports whenever possible? I've never once flown through ORD and had an on-time arrival or departure. Not once. And it's never just a little delay, either -- it's always one of those "glad I brought a travel pillow, where's the nearest shower" delays. I also never understood why a major transportation hub would have developed in a region that has so many snow days... :wacko:

ATL has gotten a lot better in recent years, but I still hate the fact that Delta routes every single one of their flights through ATL before it goes anywhere else. My mongrel idiot of a cousin made travel plans recently (without consulting anyone else) that involved her flying to ATL from DFW to get to Phoenix, courtesy of Delta. WTF?

We never fly into LHR. Manchester's airport is awesome -- the Love Field of England, if you will -- although I suppose it isn't for everyone, especially if you're only flying into the country for a few days or only want to see London. But the trip from Manchester to London is a very short two-hour train ride through some lovely country. I equate it to flying Southwest into Little Rock and then driving to Memphis to avoid the extreeeeeemely expensive rates at MEM.

Now that I read this, I'm thinking I might have weird travel habits... :unsure:

Anyway, I'm surprised to see that Frankfurt is so far down the list. They used to be crazy busy.

You're right about ORD. If it wasn't my closest airport, I'd avoid it, too. The $50-$60 cab ride each way doesn't make me any happier, either. Or the fact that the Airport Express subway line just died. I wish Chicago would get on the ball like Houston and impose a flat rate on airport rides. It's cheaper to hire a limo than to take a taxi. I've got it easy. Some of the posted rates at the cab stand to get to the suburbs are in the $120-$150 range!

LHR has gotten a lot better recently, especially for transiting passengers. It's the only airport I've ever seen with adequate seating. When I went through a couple of months ago it was like night and day, though construction continues. I used to use Gatwick when I could, but I've started going back to LHR because the tube connection is much easier than Conex.

I can't stand ATL, either. Unless I'm flying to Florida or the Carolinas it's really out of the way for everything.

CDG has its good points and its bad. It's really all about luck there. And I'm surprised that the food is actually bad.

FRA is the only one on the list I haven't been to, so I can't comment on it.

HKG is the best airport I've ever seen. Spacious, welcoming, interesting, and comfortable.

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I'm shocked Houston isn't on the list being that it is the 8th largest Airport in the world.

8th largest? What?

Anyway, I wonder why DFW is dropping like a rock. The metro area is growing like weeds, so it doesn't really make sense. I do know their international traffic has dropped, while Houston has had a 7% gain in that.

Through May 2008:

DFW: 2,220,035 Down 0.6% from 2007

IAH: 3,374,026, Up 7.3% from 2007

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ATL has gotten a lot better in recent years, but I still hate the fact that Delta routes every single one of their flights through ATL before it goes anywhere else. My mongrel idiot of a cousin made travel plans recently (without consulting anyone else) that involved her flying to ATL from DFW to get to Phoenix, courtesy of Delta. WTF?

Well, ATL is Delta's main hub. Continental for the most part routes their flights through IAH and Newark... that's what hubs are for. If she wanted to fly from DFW to PHX she should have flown American or Southwest... she could have flown direct since they have hubs in Dallas. She just picked the wrong airline... can't really complain to Delta about that... but I can understand how much of a pain that must of been.

Whenever I fly home to Pennsylvania I always have to connect through a city (Atlanta most of the time) since I fly into a small airport... can't get their direct from Houston... connecting can be such a pain sometimes. :wacko:

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  1. LAX - Los Angeles - 62 million
  2. DFW - Dallas-Fort Worth International 59.7 million
  3. MAD - Madrid Barajas 52.1 million

These I can totally agree are quite hellish

SFO or San Francisco International rather, is another quite maddening one, thats why I always flew into Oakland Intn'l, easy in & out and fast access to The Nimitz Frwy or 880 rather. :D

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Well, ATL is Delta's main hub. Continental for the most part routes their flights through IAH and Newark... that's what hubs are for. If she wanted to fly from DFW to PHX she should have flown American or Southwest... she could have flown direct since they have hubs in Dallas. She just picked the wrong airline... can't really complain to Delta about that... but I can understand how much of a pain that must of been.

Whenever I fly home to Pennsylvania I always have to connect through a city (Atlanta most of the time) since I fly into a small airport... can't get their direct from Houston... connecting can be such a pain sometimes. :wacko:

Delta has a hub in Salt Lake though.

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IAH would be the nation's (US) 8th largest airport. 16th seems reasonable on an international scale.

Fly out of Terminal A and it seems A LOT less busy... ugh I hate that terminal... and of course that's the one I fly out of 9 times out of 10. <_<

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Keep in mind Houston has two airports... if we didn't have Hobby then Intercontinental would be a busier airport.

Almost all of the markets in the top ten have at least one other major airport.

  • O'Hare has Midway (and more recently MKE now that it's a $20 30-minute Amtrak hop away).
  • Heathrow has Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, City and others.
  • Haneda has Narita
  • LAX has a bunch of nearby airports
  • De Gaulle has Orly
  • DFW has Love Field

I don't now about FRA or MAD.

On the broader point, I think you're right, though -- Atlanta's numbers are skewed by the fact that it has no regional or local competition.

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IAH - A pretty rinky dink airport with mediocre facilities for international passengers. Of course, that means it isn't as crowded as the others, which I like.

LHR - Greatly improved recently. I flew through there in May and was impressed with how things are going.

LGW - Used to be good, but construction is killing the ambience right now, especially the crappy bus between the terminals

FRA - A pretty good airport. Lots to see and do, good duty free

CDG - Worst airport in the free world. Used to fly through there a lot going to Africa. A really grim place with bad food and surly staff

DOH - Doha is improving the airport all the time. The Qatar Air Premium Terminal is a thing of beauty. No lines, great facility, great free food. You ahve to be flying in Business or First CLass on Qatar Air to use. The rest of the airport is good too. A decent numebr of shops, and lots of places to sit. The new airport should open in a couple of years and should be spectacular. It's great flying in and out of a country that doesn't care how much money they spend on a temporary facility.

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One of the most unusual airports I ever experienced was flying in a 12 seater into Vernal, UT around 1996. The airport terminal or ticket area was the size of a 7 Eleven with a fold out table to check in baggage and one woman at the booth. Twilight Zone it was.

I thought for sure Arnold the Pig (Green Acres) would dart out any moment to hail a taxi cab for me (probably be Mr Haney) :D

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IAH - A pretty rinky dink airport with mediocre facilities for international passengers. Of course, that means it isn't as crowded as the others, which I like.

LHR - Greatly improved recently. I flew through there in May and was impressed with how things are going.

LGW - Used to be good, but construction is killing the ambience right now, especially the crappy bus between the terminals

FRA - A pretty good airport. Lots to see and do, good duty free

CDG - Worst airport in the free world. Used to fly through there a lot going to Africa. A really grim place with bad food and surly staff

DOH - Doha is improving the airport all the time. The Qatar Air Premium Terminal is a thing of beauty. No lines, great facility, great free food. You ahve to be flying in Business or First CLass on Qatar Air to use. The rest of the airport is good too. A decent numebr of shops, and lots of places to sit. The new airport should open in a couple of years and should be spectacular. It's great flying in and out of a country that doesn't care how much money they spend on a temporary facility.

The experience at LHR depends on the terminal and time of day, but overall I would think "dire" fits the bll.

LGW - ditto. One restroom for a terminal building is insane, plus there is insufficient seating. Last time I was there the entire place was grubby (I'll update later this week).

FRA - Very nice, clean, and professional. You suffer culture shock flying there from LHR - it's like taking a trip into the future.

IAH - Better now with Terminal E, but except for there it has one of the worst selections of restaurants etc. that I've seen in any airport.

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IAH would be the nation's (US) 8th largest airport. 16th seems reasonable on an international scale.

Yeah, I'm sorry, I meant the 8th largest in the US, not the world. I knew it was the 8th largest something though.

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I guess by the same logic the other airports would still rank higher if they only had 1 airport.

Yes, yes they would.

I love Terminal A. There are almost never any lines and you can get through it quickly. It's like flying out of a small town.

See I am different... I like living in a big city b/c it's big and busy and crazy. I like flying out of big airports where there are lots of people. Ok I don't like waiting in long lines, but that's just something that comes w/ the territory. I know I am weird, I just like when things are big and busy. ^_^

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I love Terminal A. There are almost never any lines and you can get through it quickly. It's like flying out of a small town.

I love Terminal A, too. I never think I'm flying out of a small town (I've been in real small town airports, and they're nothing like it). I feel transported to the early 70s. I alway hear the theme from "The Bob Newhart Show" in my head when I walk through it.

And it's got banjos! (The terminal, not the song.)

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See I am different... I like living in a big city b/c it's big and busy and crazy. I like flying out of big airports where there are lots of people. Ok I don't like waiting in long lines, but that's just something that comes w/ the territory. I know I am weird, I just like when things are big and busy.

I can see that. I've just had too many delays and times where my luggage has been lost flying through Chicago/LA/etc. I like the Charlottesville, VA airport because they only have like 5 employees which are always the same and they are very nice and never lose your luggage.

I've been to a small town airport once and I spent 15 minutes trying to figure out where the baggage claim was. Turns out they just bring it around and put it on the sidewalk in front of the airport.

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I love Terminal A, too. I never think I'm flying out of a small town (I've been in real small town airports, and they're nothing like it). I feel transported to the early 70s. I alway hear the theme from "The Bob Newhart Show" in my head when I walk through it.

And it's got banjos! (The terminal, not the song.)

That would be Terminal B, not Terminal A. The last of Terminal A's "banjos" were torn down over five years ago. Terminal B remains mostly in its original configuration for now, but Continental does have plans for a major reconstruction of it that will eliminate the old gate areas and replace them with more modern linear concourses.

LGW - ditto. One restroom for a terminal building is insane, plus there is insufficient seating. Last time I was there the entire place was grubby (I'll update later this week)

The experience at LGW varies greatly by terminal building. The old south terminal is pretty dumpy, with inadequate restroom facilities in many areas, and hellish security lines. The north terminal, which Continental moved into last year, is a much better experience, with nicer and more modern facilities, shorter lines, and if you're flying in BusinessFirst, access to the Emirates lounge which is incredible. The duty free mall/waiting area at the north terminal is also a lot larger and nicer.

One of the most unusual airports I ever experienced was flying in a 12 seater into Vernal, UT around 1996. The airport terminal or ticket area was the size of a 7 Eleven with a fold out table to check in baggage and one woman at the booth. Twilight Zone it was.

I thought for sure Arnold the Pig (Green Acres) would dart out any moment to hail a taxi cab for me (probably be Mr Haney) :D

I've encountered several similar airports in my travels. I've actually been to Vernal, but by car, not by plane. But the airport there sounds quite like the one in Worland, WY. The facilities at Del Rio or the temporary terminal in Beaumont aren't much better.

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