Which US airports are cheapest for domestic flights?

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It’s the adventure of a lunchtime: racing to the airport, hustling through security, and getting launched 38,000 feet into the sky just to land a few miles away in the same country.

 

Big business trip? Visiting family? Or living it up with buddies? Whatever the domestic air passenger’s mission, state-hopping begins with a little extra intelligence gathering to score a hot ticket for a low price. Ticket costs vary considerably between airports – social competition, alternative routes and the diverse quality of experience offered from airline to airline mean that the most intuitive airport of departure is not always the cheapest.

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NetCredit hates to see consumers charged stratospheric prices for short- and medium-haul flights. So, we analyzed data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to identify the average cost of a flight from major airports around the country – and the nearby airports offering a cheaper route. We also balanced ticket prices against local salaries to see which states have the most affordable flights.

 

Choose an airport from our interactive comparison tool below to reveal nearby alternatives with a cheaper average ticket cost. And scroll on to see our findings mapped and the most and least expensive airports at a glance.

New Jersey is the State with the Cheapest Average Domestic Flight

We averaged the cost of a flight from the airports in our study at a state-wide level. The state with the costliest domestic flights in the US is West Virginia, with an average ticket pegged at $419.27. West Virginia lacks active ‘hub’ airports, so our prices are based on the state’s biggest airport, Yeager in Charleston. It is a small state, but West Virginia’s airports are also small and distanced enough to preclude more competitive pricing.

US Flight Costs

New Jersey has the cheapest average domestic flight cost ($205.60), and by a bigger jump than that which separates any other two states – second-cheapest Florida averages out at $257.36. The moderate cost of flying from New Jersey’s Newark Liberty airport ($301.78) is tempered by the super-cheap flights from Atlantic City International ($109.43). This airport is mainly served by Spirit Airlines, an “ultra low fare” airline claiming to run fuel-efficient flights to cut costs for passengers.

West Virginia Flights Most Expensive Compared to Local Income

Next, we compared average local pay to average domestic flight prices at a state level. Assessed this way, West Virginia again offers the worst deal, with the average ticket costing 11.09% of the average monthly paycheck. By contrast, Vermont is the state with the second-highest average ticket price but ranks seventh for affordability (9.29%), thanks to a stronger local economy and higher earnings.

Most affordable domestic flights

At the other end of the scale, things are a bit more dynamic. New Jersey again delivers the best deal, with its ultra-cheap flights costing the equivalent of 3.87% of the local paycheck. However, the high wages of Washington and Massachusetts push them up into the top five most affordable states from which to take a domestic flight, despite ranking 35th and 29th respectively for ticket prices.

Florida Airports Dominate Top 10 Cheapest in US

Atlantic City Intl is the cheapest US airport in our study (see New Jersey is the State with the Cheapest Average Domestic Flight above). But Florida airports dominate our cheap list, making Florida the second-cheapest state on average. Florida was the most popular domestic destination search when the first Covid-19 lockdown struck and foreign vacations dropped off the menu. As a tourist hotspot, Florida has more hub airports than any other state, ensuring strong inter-airline competition.

Most and least expensive airports

Huntsville Intl in Alabama is the most expensive airport from which to take a domestic US flight. Traffic through this airport tends to take the form of smaller, less efficient planes. The city of Huntsville welcomes a lot of governmental travelers due to the dominance of aerospace and defense facilities in the area. These fliers rarely pay for their own tickets – so airlines don’t feel the demand for price competition.

Norman Y. Mineta San José Intl Among Most ‘Affordable’ Airports Despite $300+ Tickets

Finally, we compared the average ticket price at each airport to the average salary in that airport’s state to find which are most affordable. The bargain airports of Atlantic City and Orlando Sanford top the list, as they do in absolute terms of pricing. But Norman Y. Mineta San José Intl comes flying into the top 10, with Californians needing just 3.94% of the average monthly paycheck to buy the average $306.53 ticket.

Most and least expensive domestic flights

The least affordable airports get more of a shake-up. Huntsville, the most expensive US airport, is not among the least affordable airports, thanks to the buoyant governmental salaries of the local workforce (see previous section).

 

McAllen Miller Intl leaps from eighth most expensive to number one least affordable, with its average fare costing nearly 12% of the average Texan paycheck. Unfortunately, there are no comparable airports within 150 miles of McAllen Miller, so price competition is minimal, and so are your alternative options.

Dress Comfy but Book Smart with Online Pricing Tools

While the first year of the pandemic saw ticket costs plummet, the resumption of old travel patterns has brought with it a price hike. But the prices in our study are only averages – which means it is often possible to find a cheaper way to your domestic destination. Remember the three golden rules of booking cheap flights:

  • Book ahead using a price comparison tool – research shows the cheapest time to book is 64 days before flying…
  • …but check third-party discount sites for last-minute reductions if a late booking is unavoidable.
  • Be flexible – Skyscanner found that flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are cheaper than weekend bookings.

And pair these techniques with our flight cost index below to make sure you’re hunting for cheap prices at the most affordable nearby airport. Then pack up your lunch (to avoid an overpriced meal) and let the adventure begin.

METHODOLOGY & SOURCES

To create these tables, we started by finding the most recent data about the domestic airline itinerary fares from the Bureau of Transport. Then, we pulled the data about average wage by states and MSAs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

We kept the airports that are hubs according to FAA classification. We added Yeager Airport, even though it’s not a hub, since it is the largest airport in West Virginia. Although Wilmington Airport in Delaware restarted the commercial activity in 2021, we didn’t include it in the list since the operations are very limited and incomparable with hubs.

 

For every state, we found the median flight price among the airports of the state. After that, we calculated the affordability of average domestic flights in each airport and state as a % of monthly salary in each city/state and assigned nationwide and state ranks.

 

For the price comparison tool, we identified the nearest three airports with coordinates of each airport from the Federal Aviation Administration. We dropped the airports located farther than 150 miles.

 

The data was collected in January 2022.

 

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This article originally appeared on Netcredit.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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Over-the-top airports from around the world

 

Many modern airports aren’t merely transportation hubs; they’re also design feats, full of fine dining, designer shops, cultural nods, exciting attractions, iconic ceilings and standalone works of art. From the peaks of Denver to a gem at a southern tip of the world, curb your urge to travel by “visiting” the world’s most beautiful airports.

 

Gökçen TUNÇ / istockphoto

 

The world’s best airport — according to air transport rating organization Skytrax’s rankings — is, unsurprisingly, one of the most beautiful. The 135,700-square-meter Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore features lush gardens, canopy bridges (pictured), mazes, sculptural slides, hotel rooms, swanky shops and several Michelin star restaurants.

 

 

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One of the spectacular airport’s most popular attractions (yes, attractions) are the Manulife Sky Nets. One web is for walkers, but the other 250-meter net is designed to let adventurous visitors bounce among the trees.

 

 

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Jewel Changi’s crown jewel, however, is the HSBC Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. Take a red-eye and you can catch a stunning light-and-sound show.

 

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Qatar’s stunning Hamad International Airport opened in April 2014 and currently accommodates over 35 million passengers per year.

 

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Its grand foyer houses “Lamp Bear,” a 23-foot yellow teddy sculpted from bronze by Swiss artist Urs Fischer. The big bear (and his desk lamp umbrella) was designed to “remind travelers of childhood or precious objects from home,” according to the airport website.

 

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Incheon International, South Korea’s largest airport, doubles as an arts and culture performance venue, hosting mini-concerts, art exhibits, dance recitals and Korean history lessons.

 

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Incheon Airport’s Terminal 2 opened in January 2018, a few weeks before the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. It’s currently undergoing an expansion, expected to be completed by 2025.

 

The airport, located in Mumbai, India, has won several awards since undergoing modernization beginning in 2006, including the 2008 “Airport of the Year” award by Frost & Sullivan Aeronautical Excellence.

 

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The airport’s Terminal 2 — or T2, as it’s affectionately known — is characterized by its 17-acre roof, designed to evoke the stone pavilions of ancient Hindu temples and the eye of a peacock feather, according to Architect Magazine. (Peacocks are the country’s national bird.)

 

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The second-largest (and only international) airport in the UAE boasts designer shops, children’s play areas, two airport hotels, numerous lounges and a 924-square-meter VIP terminal.

 

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Its X-shaped central terminal was conceived as a gateway to Abu Dhabi and is characterized by ornate, colorful ceilings.

 

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The second largest airport in Europe, located in northeast Madrid, has four passenger terminals, one satellite building and two docks.

 

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Its flagship feature, however, is the curved bamboo ceiling of Terminal 4. Designed by famous architect Richard Rogers, the sustainable bamboo canopies are supported by yellow steel “tree trunks” and span 25 soccer fields.

 

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Malaysia’s main international airport prides itself on its service and amenities — which include a 24-hour wellness spa and a premium lounge open to all passengers — so much so, it has its own brochure.

 

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Designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, the airport’s Islamic-style shading roof is also meant to evoke a Malaysian rainforest.

 

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One of the busiest airports in the U.S. O’Hare’s most notable feature is, perhaps, its underground rainbow tunnel, connecting Concourse A to Concourse B in Terminal 1. That might change, however, as the airport is slated for a major expansion, projected to be completed by 2028.

 

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China’s fourth largest airport is unmistakable, thanks to Terminal 3’s curving, steel-and-glass canopy roof.

 

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Designed by Italian architects Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, the airport’s exterior evokes a manta ray, while thousands of hexagonal skylights on the interior are meant to mimic a honeycomb.

 

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The flagship terminal is full of other flourishes, including polished tile floors, giant, sculptural air conditioning vents and some brightly colored windows (pictured).

 

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Colorado’s Denver International Airport is among the world’s busiest — and most beautiful — airports, hosting 69 million passengers in 2019.

 

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DIA is most known for its Jeppesen Terminal, which features a peaked roof meant to evoke — and highlight — the visible Rocky Mountains. But if the terminal’s unique design doesn’t strike your fancy, maybe the many conspiracy theories surrounding the airport will.

 

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Turkey’s Istanbul Airport opened in October 2018 and was recently certified as a five-star airport by Skytrax.

 

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The airport’s massive single terminal can host up to 200 million passengers, who can visit local and designer shops, 150 eateries, several salons and a spa specializing in massage packages.

 

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Its iconic control tower, designed by firms AECOM and Pininfarina, was inspired by tulips, “which have been associated with Istanbul for centuries and represented a significant cultural reference in Turkish history,” according to the airport’s website.

 

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Another of Skytrax’s five-star airports, Tokyo Haneda International Airport is a trip itself, housing Edo Koji, a shopping center modeled after a typical street in 17th-century Japan.

 

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The Edo Market includes a giant replica of the original wooden Nihonbashi Bridge, surrounded by decorative folding screens from the National Museum of Japanese History that depict life during its era.

 

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The splashy, five-star Munich Airport is home to two terminals, 56 eateries, 137 stores, free relaxation areas and coffee stations and its very own brewery.

 

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In non-pandemic times, it doubles as an event space, thanks to the spectacular roof designed by architect Helmut Jahn that connects the two terminals. In 2019, the airport hosted the Southern German Skateboarding Championships and a winter festival that included an ice rink.

 

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Elevated 4,411 meters above sea level, Daocheng Yading Airport is currently the world’s highest civilian airport.

 

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The modern airport, opened in 2008, is designed to showcase the ancient city “where classical traditions of the arts, crafts, music, and food are as vibrant today as they were centuries ago,” according to its website.

 

 

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Here, again, the ornate, glass ceilings are a real highlight, flooding the airport with plenty of natural light to accentuate the modern and cultural flourishes.

 

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Nicknamed “the starfish” for its unique external shape, the new Beijing Daxing International Airport (it opened in Sept. 2019) is now the biggest airport in the world, spanning the equivalent of 98 soccer fields.

 

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The interior combines futuristic elements, like swirling black-and-white ceilings and polished floors, with cultural touches, like the traditional Chinese gardens that adorn its corridors.

 

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Beijing Capital International Airport — the “starfish’s” next-door neighbor —has plenty of shine on its own, featuring arching skylights, red-white-and-gold ceilings and dragon statues.

 

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Another one of the world’s busiest airports, Dubai International Airport served 86.4 million customers in 2019.

 

 

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The bustling and partially underground Terminal 3, which cost $4.5 billion to build, houses two food courts, numerous duty-free shops, and five- and four-star hotel rooms.

 

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Located on the island of Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of Argentina, the small airport comes with big panoramic views.

 

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Another Helmut Jahn creation, Bangkok’s sprawling Suvarnabhumi Airport was designed to “express its pivotal importance to Thailand,” according to the Architectural Record.

 

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It also reflects its name: Suvarnabhumi means “The Golden Land,” a traditional name for the Thailand-Cambodia-Laos-Burma region.

 

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The world’s busiest airport doubles as an art gallery, featuring over 1,000 works of art throughout its corridors and terminals.

 

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The airport’s impressive concrete-and-steel railway station, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, is meant to evoke a bird at the point of flight.

 

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Baku’s Heydar Aliyev International Airport was named a five-star regional airport, by Skytrax in May 2018.

 

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Its defining feature is its stunning wooden “cocoons,” which house eateries, shops, luggage storage centers, a spa and a children’s play area.

 

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Also referred to as Chek Lap Kok International Airport, this sprawling airport handled 71.5  million passengers in 2019. It’s received over 80 “World’s Best Airport” awards and is certified with Skytrax’s five-star airport rating “for facilities, comfort and cleanliness, shopping, food and beverages and staff service.”

 

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The airport’s distinctive scalloped roof canopies are designed for expansion — and, in fact, have already been extended three times since the airport opened in July 1998.

 

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Designed by architect Cesar Pelli, Washington D.C.’s National airport is characterized by “54 ‘Jeffersonian’ domes that establish a connection with the architecture of the region,” according to its website.

 

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The interior features work from 30 artists, including mosaic, murals and sculpture, woven between the distinctive corridors and balustrades.

 

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Amsterdam’s Airport Schiphol features relaxation areas designed to mimic a forest, complete with pre-recorded birds singing in the background. There are also nearby exercise bikes that will charge your phone as you pedal.

 

 

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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Featured Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

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