These are the worlds busiest airports to avoid this Christmas - by passenger numbers



Buyagift have commissioned a study using worldwide aviation data revealing the worlds busiest airports to avoid this Christmas (21st-25th Dec) - and captured this in a series of timelapse videos . It’s going to be HECTIC!

Full timelapse videos can be found and embedded/downloaded here:

The study gathered data on every single flight scheduled to be leaving every airport worldwide between 21st-25th Dec. The data shows that…

  • 466,897 flights are scheduled between the dates of 21st-25th December 2018 taking 69,330,024 people home to their families for Christmas
  • The eve of Christmas eve (23rd December) is the busiest day in Christmas air travel with 15 million people scheduled to be flying currently
  • Beijing tops the list as the busiest airport at Christmas 844,000 people flying in
  • USA, China and India are the 3 busiest countries
  • Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson busiest US airport at Christmas

The full story with ‘Top 10 data’ can be found in the release below and hopefully this is of use.

Any questions do let me know


Flight data: The worlds busiest airports to avoid at Christmas by passenger numbers

New study and map reveals every worldwide flight scheduled to be in the sky this Christmas.

Between 21-25th December this year, around 69,330,024 people around the world will be taking to the skies, heading home to their families in time for Christmas Day. Among them are nurses, soldiers, family and friends and businesspeople flying thousands of miles to spend the holidays with their loved ones.

To show you what this looks like, experts at Buyagift have gathered the details of all 466,897 scheduled flights from 3,654 airports around the world and mapped this out across a 5-day animated time-lapse.*

This is what the festive air travel schedule will look like:

Analysed and commissioned by Buyagift

“The best Christmas gift of all is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up with one another.” – Helen Keller, American Author.

The data

Overall, just under half a million (466,897) flights are scheduled* to be in the skies worldwide during the peak period at Christmas of 21st-25th. These flights will be carrying a whopping 70 million people taking them home to their families for the most wonderful time of the year.

When breaking this down by dates, the eve of Christmas Eve is the busiest day with 99,948 flights transporting 15,000,927 passengers worldwide. Christmas Eve see’s 13.7 million travelling in the sky and even Christmas Day is almost as hectic.

Top 20 busiest airports to avoid at Christmas (by passenger arrivals/depatures):

Beijing International tops the list as the worlds busiest city at Christmas with 843,734 people flying into the airport between 21st-25th December and 844,657 departing.

This is then followed by Dubai and Atlanta

London Heathrow is the UK’s busiest airport, and 11th on the world busiest list.

Despite more planes flying into California International - more people are heading in and out of Beijing making it the most hectic airport to be stuck at this festive period.

UK flight data – 1.8 million Brits flying home to British soil for Christmas

The UK is the 8th busiest country according to worldwide Christmas flight data

10,888 flights to the UK are scheduled between the dates of 21st-25th December taking a total 1,825,728 people home to British soil in time for Christmas.

London Heathrow is set to be the busiest airport at Christmas with currently 597,113 people scheduled to be flying in just before the big day. This is then followed by Gatwick and then Manchester

8,163 of the overall flights will be international arrivals predominately coming from Spain, the USA and Germany.

USA busiest country at Christmas

Everything is bigger and better in the US, and festive period is no different. During the 5 days before Christmas, no less than 118,844 flights will be arriving across the country – over 10 times that of the UK.

Altogether, 14.5 million people will be heading to the US in time for Christmas. The majority of these flights however are domestic with 107,449 currently scheduled internally. Despite this, 11,395 flights will be arriving from overseas.

Looking at it airport by airport, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson is set to the busiest US airport with 742,836 people scheucled to arrive upon 5,720 flights. This is then followed by Los Angeles International and Chicago O’Hare

The top 20 busiest US airports at Christmas (21st-25th Dec):

Why have we have done this?

Dan Mountain, CEO at Buyagift said “We understand giving loved ones something special at Christmas is an essential part of the festive season but spending time with our nearest and dearest is priceless.’’

‘’We wanted to visualise just how important this is around the world, showing just what the sky will look like 5 days head of Christmas as everyone heads home to be with their loved ones for the most magical time of the year. “

Credit source:


*Schedules Data - OAG accurate as of October 2018. Flight data may be subject to change after this date. based on 3,654 airports around the world.

The data broken down by top 10 can be explored here.

About Buyagift

Buyagift is the UK’s leading provider of experience days. If you’re looking for a unique birthday gift or an extra special Christmas present, or just a novel way to mark your own special occasion then Buyagift offers an exceptional choice from which to select.

By purchasing a gift experience for your friend or loved one you are not just giving them a thoughtful present, but also a wealth of memories to enjoy for years to come. A unique Buyagift experience day really is the gift that keeps on giving.

From helicopter flying and cookery lessons to super car driving, Buyagift have everything that you could possibly need to make someone’s special occasion absolutely unforgettable. With over 4,500 experiences to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect gift for even the most discerning loved one, whether they’re an aspiring gourmet or a high-flying thrill-seeker.