Size Comparison of the Busiest US Airports

Terminal silhouettes of ATL (Atlanta), LAX (Los Angeles), and ORD (Chicago-O’Hare) overlaid on each other. 2014 total commercial passengers are shown for each airport: ATL has 96.1 million passengers, LAX has 70.7 million passengers, and ORD has 70.0 million passengers.

Now that I’ve built the terminal silhouettes for a number of airports, I can start to do some interesting things with them. For example, the three busiest airports in the United States—Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Chicago O’Hare—are all enormous, but I wondered how big they are compared to each other.

Atlanta, unsurprisingly, appears to be the largest; it’s certainly the one with the longest possible walk between gates, particularly since transferring between the domestic and international terminals at O’Hare requires a train or shuttle ride.

Los Angeles turns out to be surprisingly compact; although it has about the same passenger count as O’Hare, it takes up substantially less space.