Americans fly LAX-SFO more than any other flight path in the US
In 1903, the Wright brothers completed their first successful flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. They probably never imagined that in the future millions of people would be using their invention to jet across the country each year.
Now, flying is almost as easy as hopping into a car, and is widely considered to be the safest method of traveling. Airways are becoming increasingly busier by the year, acting like invisible highways between major cities.
Today, as you fly around the country, you might notice the same flights appearing on the arrival-departure board, over and over. It's not just a glitch in the system.
Some flight paths are simply more traveled than others, according to the researchers at WanderBat, a travel research site that's part of the Graphiq network. Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation, WanderBat tallied the total number of flights in 2015 that flew the same paths in order to find the most frequented domestic routes. Savvy summer travelers may want to keep these routes in mind as they plan which locale to visit for their vacations.
Note: Flight paths are multi-directional.
Of the top ten, LAX makes each of the top three flight paths in 2015, summing 77,330 flights either departing or arriving in Los Angeles. The most traveled flight path is between Los Angeles and San Francisco, with almost 30,000 flights — displaying an established travel pattern between the two cities.
Some people have taken notice of this popular travel path and proposed alternative transportation solutions. Entrepreneur and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is trying to revolutionize traveling between the two major cities by creating the Hyperloop (which recently got another round of funding from Russia) which Musk claims could cut travel time between Los Angeles and San Francisco to a mere 30 minutes.
On the other end of the spectrum, LaGuardia Airport in New York City makes the top three, and five of the top ten of the most canceled flight paths. This pattern is probably partially due to unsafe weather conditions on the East Coast, which can often prevent travelers from reaching their destinations — like this year's blizzard in January which caused thousands of flights to be canceled.
Though LAX nabs the top three spots, it should be noted that of the top 100 most traveled flight paths, the Atlanta airport is the most frequented at 22 distinct flight routes either arriving in or departing from the city. Chicago is the second most frequented at 18, followed by Los Angeles at 17. This may seem surprising considering Atlanta's population is around 17 percent of Chicago's and 12 percent of L.A.'s, but can partially be explained because Delta Airlines' headquarters are located in Atlanta, so the city is used as an airplane home base.
So what do these patterns spell out for summer travelers? If busy airports aren't your thing, it's probably best to avoid LAX or SFO. Don't want to go through the ordeal of a canceled flight? Then maybe pass on LaGuardia. If you still need some travel inspiration, take a look at the top 100 most frequented flight paths below.