Top 5 Busiest U.S. Airports at Thanksgiving: Los Angeles Tops the List

The latest “most crowded airport” forecast for Thanksgiving is out from Orbitz and it contains a bit of a surprise: Los Angeles International is predicted to be the busiest airport in the U.S.

The definition of “busy” is determined by the number of bookings for travel between Nov. 23 and Nov. 27.

The Los Angeles airport, better known to locals by its code designation, LAX, knocked Chicago’s O’Hare out of the top spot it occupied last year. Here’s a look at the top five:

Weirdest airport code designations (including SUX)

Listen to a couple of tips on avoiding the “worst” airports:

Top 5 Busiest U.S. Airports at Thanksgiving

  1. Los Angeles
  2. Chicago O’Hare
  3. Orlando
  4. San Francisco
  5. Boston Logan

In case you’re wondering what happened to New York, rest-assured that LaGuardia, JFK and Newark all made the top 10. Dropping off the busy list this year: Reagan Washington National and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson. Now for the least busy airports:

Top 5 Least Busy U.S. Airports at Thanksgiving

  1. San Jose
  2. Kahului (Maui)
  3. John Wayne (Orange County)
  4. Jacksonville
  5. Sacramento

For Los Angelenos who’d like to avoid the crowds, head down to John Wayne Airport in Orange County – it’s just 41 miles south of LAX.

What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled (and how to get on the next flight)

No matter what airport you use this Thanksgiving, expect larger than normal crowds. Leave for the airport earlier than usual, to allow more time for parking and longer security lines.

Image, upper right: Encounter Restaurant at LAX

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Published: November 9, 2011