Skip to main content

A new report says this is the most stressful airport in the U.S.

Anticipate high stress levels when traveling through this airport

Chicago O Hare
EQRoy / Shutterstock

Traveling can be an exciting experience, but it often comes with its own set of challenges, especially at airports. According to a recent study by, Chicago O’Hare Airport has earned the honor of being the most stressful airport in the United States. For seasoned travelers, this news might not come as a surprise. O’Hare’s reputation for congestion, frequent delays, and confusing terminals have long been the source of many travel nightmares. Let’s dive into the factors that make O’Hare the most stressful airport in the country.

What makes Chicago O’Hare Airport so stressful?

group of people walking in airport
Briana Tozour / Unsplash

The recent study analyzed the top 15 airports in the United States, focusing on five key stress-inducing factors: passenger numbers, distance from the city center, number of flight destinations, car parking charges, and the overall airport satisfaction score. Chicago O’Hare’s ranking as the most stressful airport is largely due to the high parking charge and the large number of flight destinations.

“With over 33 million passengers, 249 flight destinations and the second most expensive car parking charge for a week at over $283, it ranks almost 10 points higher than any other airport,” the study reports. 

Which other airports made the list?

Passengers at ticketing counter
Phil Mosley / Unsplash

While Chicago O’Hare tops the list as the most stressful airport in the U.S., several other major airports contribute significantly to traveler stress. Ranked as the second most stressful airport in the USA, New York JFK International Airport faces challenges such as its over 20 km (12.4 miles) distance to the nearest city and one of the worst Flightradar scores, indicating frequent delays and operational issues.

Additionally, JFK’s high weekly car parking charge of $191.67 adds to the financial stress for travelers. Seattle International Airport also stands out with the most expensive car parking charge at a staggering $376 for a week. This can be a major source of stress for those driving to the airport, especially for trips lasting over a week.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, coming in at number three on the list, handles over 35 million passengers annually, making it one of the busiest airports in the country. It is also the furthest from the nearest city and boasts the most flight destination options at 258.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is ranked as the least stressful airport on the list. It is the closest to the nearest city at just 3.7 miles and handles fewer passengers than its larger counterparts. With fewer flight destinations and cheaper parking options at $72 per week, PHX offers a more relaxed travel experience.

Here’s the full list of the most stressful airports in the United States.

  1. Chicago O’Hare International
  2. New York JFK International
  3. Dallas/Fort Worth International
  4. Denver International
  5. Los Angeles International
  6. Miami International
  7. Orlando International
  8. Newark International
  9. Atlanta International
  10. Las Vegas International
  11. Seattle International
  12. Charlotte Douglas International
  13. George Bush International
  14. San Francisco International
  15. Phoenix International

Editors' Recommendations

Amanda Teague
Amanda, an accomplished freelance writer with four years of experience, is a dedicated explorer of both the world and the…
Round up your golf buddies — these are the best golf trips in the U.S.
Head to these great locales with your golf buddies
Ocean hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links

Pebble Beach Golf Links Noah Rosenfield via Unsplash

Golf lends itself to a fun, relaxing vacation. In the morning, hit the links with your buddies, try and break par, and take in stunning landscapes. When your round’s over, relax at the clubhouse or try world-class eateries, where you can savor and recharge. Then, do it again the next day.

Read more
Customers think these are the best airlines, according to a J.D. Power report
JD Power says these are the airlines customers like best in 2024
Sun and clouds with airplane wing

Air travel lets you cover thousands of miles in mere hours, opening the door to destinations far and wide. Sometimes, that can be a hectic experience, with crowded boarding lines and cramped overhead bins. Subpar service makes it even worse. When that happens, taking a flight is more a test of endurance than a comfortable ride, and you can’t wait to exit the plane. 

On a full flight, a gracious staff makes all the difference, ready to lend a hand and ensure you have what you need. Some airlines do that better than others. 

Read more
This is now the best airport in the world, according to travelers
Have you been to this stunning airport?
Doha Airport

In a resounding victory for aviation excellence, Doha’s Hamad International Airport has emerged triumphant as the World’s Best Airport of 2024, knocking 12-time winner Singapore Changi Airport down to second place. The accolade was bestowed upon Hamad International Airport at the World Airport Awards, a pinnacle event held during the recent Passenger Terminal EXPO in Frankfurt. The awards are determined by responses from customers to Skytrax's annual global airport customer satisfaction survey.

Hamad International also clinched the title of the World’s Best Airport Shopping and the Best Airport in the Middle East. Let’s take a look at what makes Hamad International Airport so special, as well as the rankings for the other best airports in the world.
About Hamad International Airport

Read more