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Chicago's O'Hare, LAX to be busiest U.S. airports for Thanksgiving

November 09, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • Los Angeles International Airport is expected to be the second busiest U.S. airport for Thanksgiving.
Los Angeles International Airport is expected to be the second busiest… (Don Bartletti/Los Angeles…)

If you hate crowds, stay clear of Chicago's O'Hare International or Los Angeles International airports for Thanksgiving.

For the third straight year, O'Hare and LAX were the nation's two busiest airports, according to booking data by the travel website

Last year, LAX was ranked the busiest, with O'Hare coming in second, according to Orbitz. The two airports switched places in the ranking this year, with San Francisco International Airport coming in third, the website said.

As expected, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving will be the busiest departure day, with more than twice as many travelers flying as on Thanksgiving Day. The Sunday after Thanksgiving will also be an ugly scene at the airports, according to Orbitz.

But there are simple ways to avoid the stampede of travelers this holiday, said Jeanenne Tornatore, Orbitz's senior travel editor.

If you live in Southern California, for example, you can fly out of John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, which ranks as one of the 10 least busy major airports for the holiday, she said.

"LAX is the second-busiest airport in the country over Thanksgiving, but just 40 miles away you have John Wayne," Tornatore said.

Among the nation's 50 major destination airports, Buffalo Niagara International airport was ranked the least busy for the holiday, according to Orbitz.


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Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin

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