If you’re booking airfare this summer and want to save some money, you may want to take a second look at which airports offer the best prices.
The average cost of airfare varies from airport to airport, so if you can be flexible, you could save quite a bit of money by using one airport rather than another. Then again, you could also tailor your summer travel around visiting a popular destination near one of the least-expensive airports in the U.S.
FinanceBuzz analyzed data compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) to research the average cost of domestic airfare from the 45 busiest airports in the U.S. Based on that BTS data, it’s possible to determine which airports are best for travelers on a budget.
FinanceBuzz’s findings are detailed in a new report called the 2023 U.S. Airport Cost Rankings: See How Airfare Compares at the Nation’s Busiest Airports.
First, a word about domestic airfare.
The BTS report calculates average fares based on domestic itinerary fares, which is either the cost of a round-trip fare or a one-way trip when a return trip isn’t booked. Those fares are also based on total ticket value, which includes the price charged by the airline plus any additional taxes and fees, but not fees for optional services such as baggage.
So, let’s get to it. Here are the five least-expensive airports among the 45 busiest in the U.S.
Harry Reid International Airport, formerly known as McCarran International Airport, in Las Vegas has offered the lowest airfare in the U.S. for years. In 2022, once again, it offered the lowest average airfare. As FinanceBuzz notes, in 2022, the average airfare at Harry Reid International Airport was $264.24.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport came in second place, with an average airfare of $271.78. Also in Florida, Orlando International Airport had the country’s third-lowest airfare, which was barely more expensive than airfare at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood coming in at $273.35.
Rounding out the top five least-expensive airports, Oakland International Airport had an average airfare of $288.23 last year while the average airfare at Chicago Midway International Airport was $303.05, according to the BTS data.
Once again, Dulles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport are the most expensive of the top 45 busiest airports in the country.
Flights from Dulles, on average, cost a staggering $494.78 in 2022. Meanwhile, flights from San Francisco cost $456.86.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport had the third-highest average airfare in the country last year. Its average cost was $444.42.
Finally, rounding out the top five airports with the most-expensive fares, two airports were tied with the same fare average. Airfare at both Detroit Metro Airport and Portland International Airport was $425.35 last year.
Know Before You Book
FinanceBuzz offers other tips if you’re looking for more ways to save money when booking flights.
For instance, keep in mind that airfare fluctuates from week to week and even day to day. If you use an app such as Hopper to track airfare or set up a price alert on Google Flights, you’ll be able to book when prices drop.