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LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Cost of Domestic Airfare Surges 9.8% in Past Year, Led By Miami International and Portland International Jetport

Updated on:
Content was accurate at the time of publication.
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You’re not imagining things. Domestic airfare in the past year has risen nationally and at 95 of the 100 largest airports, according to a new LendingTree study. By analyzing average domestic airfare costs through the first quarter of 2023 (the latest available at the time of our research), the study reveals an even larger 28.4% increase nationally over the past two years.

Miami International in Florida had the biggest jump between the first quarters of 2022 and 2023, with prices increasing 23.9%. And two airports have an average ticket price above $500 in 2023: Dane County Regional-Truax Field in Wisconsin and Ted Stevens Anchorage International in Alaska.

“Assume that airfares will keep going up and plan accordingly,” says Matt Schulz, LendingTree chief credit analyst, citing the economy’s continued inflation struggles. “If you’re saving today for a dream vacation in the next year or two, try to save a little more than you think you need to.”

  • The average cost of a domestic plane ticket was $381.55 in the first quarter of 2023, up 9.8% from $347.56 in the first quarter of 2022. The average airfare cost was up 28.4% from $297.24 in the first quarter of 2021.
  • Miami International in Florida saw a 23.9% jump in the average cost of a domestic flight between the first quarters of 2022 and 2023. Airfare costs there spiked from $297.36 to $368.31 — the highest percentage increase across the 100 largest airports. Portland International Jetport in Maine saw the next-biggest jump at 22.3%, while Southwest Florida International and Long Beach Airport in California tied at 18.9%.
  • Just five of the 100 largest airports saw the average cost of a domestic plane ticket drop between the first quarters of 2022 and 2023. The average airfare cost dropped 8.3% at Westchester County in New York, from $402.28 to $369.08. Three Hawaii airports and Metro Oakland International in California followed.
  • The most expensive airport to depart from is Dane County Regional-Truax Field in Wisconsin, where the average domestic ticket costs $537.70. Just one other airport — Ted Stevens Anchorage International in Alaska — averages more than $500. Meanwhile, the most affordable airport to fly out of is Orlando Sanford International in Florida, with an average ticket cost of $143.03. The airport beat St. Pete Clearwater International, also in Florida, by an average of 24 cents.

Our analysis of average domestic airfare costs shows significant quarterly ups and downs since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020. But in the past year, between the first quarters of 2022 and 2023 (the latest available), there was a 9.8% increase.

“There are likely myriad reasons for this, but continued inflation and spiking demand stand out,” Schulz says. The cost of nearly everything in our lives went up during that period — and continues to do so, he points out, though maybe a bit more slowly than before.

The jump in airfare costs between the first quarters of 2021 and 2023 was even more pronounced at 28.4%, likely fueled by consumer demand as people want to travel as the pandemic slows.

“It clearly proves how much Americans love to travel,” Schulz says. “Once people started to feel safe about traveling again after the darkest days of the pandemic, the floodgates opened and people headed to the airport in droves to make up for lost time.” And, he adds, that rush hasn’t slowed, even in the wake of soaring airfare prices and rampant inflation.

Keeping things in perspective: When you consider historical airfare data back to 1995, today’s prices (adjusted for inflation) aren’t so bad. Here’s a full look:

Average domestic airfare costs (by quarter)

YearQuarterU.S. average (inflation-adjusted)
19951$591.59
19952$585.55
19953$565.40
19954$563.22
19961$550.75
19962$528.99
19963$514.80
19964$527.88
19971$533.92
19972$542.66
19973$527.60
19974$546.45
19981$565.84
19982$555.57
19983$579.99
19984$579.68
19991$605.87
19992$595.69
19993$570.23
19994$568.00
20001$601.86
20002$593.59
20003$584.67
20004$587.43
20011$594.88
20012$556.29
20013$512.43
20014$508.43
20021$540.77
20022$531.22
20023$504.85
20024$512.49
20031$524.33
20032$514.54
20033$508.81
20034$514.23
20041$516.82
20042$492.16
20043$470.17
20044$468.54
20051$472.05
20052$473.87
20053$467.12
20054$478.22
20061$488.60
20062$507.52
20063$487.83
20064$474.19
20071$468.80
20072$470.98
20073$472.87
20074$472.71
20081$472.39
20082$481.15
20083$492.06
20084$487.33
20091$444.96
20092$423.41
20093$427.75
20094$444.84
20101$454.50
20102$469.80
20103$467.91
20104$459.75
20111$482.41
20112$492.88
20113$478.88
20114$489.78
20121$491.77
20122$504.09
20123$479.01
20124$488.32
20131$490.78
20132$488.37
20133$503.40
20134$500.29
20141$495.53
20142$508.65
20143$504.19
20144$503.32
20151$499.38
20152$491.82
20153$471.92
20154$463.01
20161$455.21
20162$444.65
20163$435.52
20164$431.58
20171$431.56
20172$437.12
20173$410.87
20174$423.38
20181$418.64
20182$417.34
20183$409.19
20184$428.52
20191$416.19
20192$419.42
20193$404.24
20194$416.73
20201$391.11
20202$303.26
20203$283.19
20204$300.97
20211$297.24
20212$334.63
20213$345.05
20214$354.03
20221$347.56
20222$408.08
20223$387.96
20224$397.97
20231$381.55

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) domestic data.

Our review of airport-specific changes in airfare costs between the first quarters of 2022 and 2023 shows the most significant jump was at Florida’s Miami International. There, domestic airfare costs jumped 23.9% from $297.36 to $368.31. Right behind was Portland International Jetport in Maine at 22.3% — the only other of the 100 largest airports with an increase of at least 20%. Southwest Florida International in Fort Myers and Long Beach Airport in California tied for third with an 18.9% increase.

The bulk of Miami International’s increase was between the first and second quarters of 2022, when average airfare there spiked 15.5% from $297.36 to $343.56. Average ticket prices decreased 2.5% to $334.91 between the second and third quarters of 2022 but saw jumps of 4.6% (to $350.35) and 5.1% (to $368.31) over the next two quarters. In 2022, 26.5 million people visited greater Miami and Miami Beach — a 9% jump from 24.2 million in 2021, according to the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. That factor could have contributed to higher airfare costs.

Meanwhile, the main runway at Maine’s Portland International Jetport was shut for eight weeks starting in the second quarter of 2022. Airfare costs at the airport skyrocketed 22.1% between the first quarter of 2022 ($368.23) and the second ($449.60).

At the two airports tied for the third largest increase, the biggest jump in the year analyzed also came between the first two quarters of 2022. At Southwest Florida International, airfare costs jumped 20.9% from $310.21 to $375.18 in this period. Meanwhile, at Long Beach Airport, airfare costs jumped 23.5% from $239.57 to $295.94.

Airports with largest % increases in average airfare costs between 2022 and 2023

RankAirportLocationState20222023Change
1Miami InternationalMiamiFL$297.36$368.3123.9%
2Portland International JetportPortlandME$368.23$450.4222.3%
3Southwest Florida InternationalFort MyersFL$310.21$368.8718.9%
3Long Beach AirportLong BeachCA$239.57$284.7418.9%

Source: LendingTree analysis of BTS domestic data. Notes: 2022 and 2023 data based on first quarter of respective years. The locations and airport names are as listed in the BTS data; names may vary locally. This analyzed the 100 largest airports by total 2022 passengers.

On the other end of the spectrum, five airports had a decrease in airfare costs over the same period. Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y., had the most significant drop of 8.3%, followed closely by three Hawaii airports: Kahului, Lihue and Ellison Onizuka Kona International at Keahole. Rounding out the bottom five is Metro Oakland International in California, which was down just a half percent.

For Westchester County, it could be part of a course correction. Airfare costs here spiked 34.8% the year before, from $298.41 in the first quarter of 2021 to $402.28 in the first quarter of 2022.

Airports where average airfare costs decreased between 2022 and 2023

RankAirportLocationState20222023Change
1Westchester CountyWhite PlainsNY$402.28$369.08-8.3%
2Kahului AirportKahuluiHI$295.68$271.69-8.1%
3Lihue AirportLihueHI$264.96$243.89-7.9%
4Ellison Onizuka Kona International at KeaholeKonaHI$281.26$265.94-5.4%
5Metro Oakland InternationalOaklandCA$277.18$275.86-0.5%

Source: LendingTree analysis of BTS domestic data. Notes: 2022 and 2023 data based on first quarter of respective years. The locations and airport names are as listed in the BTS data; names may vary locally. This analyzed the 100 largest airports by total 2022 passengers.

Full rankings

Airports with largest % increases/decreases in average airfare costs between 2022 and 2023

RankAirportLocationState20222023Change
1Miami InternationalMiamiFL$297.36$368.3123.9%
2Portland International JetportPortlandME$368.23$450.4222.3%
3Southwest Florida InternationalFort MyersFL$310.21$368.8718.9%
3Long Beach AirportLong BeachCA$239.57$284.7418.9%
5Dane County Regional-Truax FieldMadisonWI$461.11$537.7016.6%
6Bill and Hillary Clinton National-Adams FieldLittle RockAR$399.52$465.3616.5%
7City of Colorado Springs MunicipalColorado SpringsCO$341.55$395.6415.8%
7Gerald R. Ford InternationalGrand RapidsMI$369.57$427.9715.8%
7Myrtle Beach InternationalMyrtle BeachSC$279.83$323.9815.8%
10Cleveland-Hopkins InternationalClevelandOH$303.63$348.8214.9%
10Philadelphia InternationalPhiladelphiaPA$353.75$406.3414.9%
12John F. Kennedy InternationalNew YorkNY$370.16$424.3314.6%
13Minneapolis-St. Paul InternationalMinneapolisMN$397.90$455.6514.5%
14Newark Liberty InternationalNewarkNJ$350.64$400.4914.2%
15Tampa InternationalTampaFL$289.94$330.5214.0%
15Ronald Reagan Washington NationalWashingtonDC$343.50$391.4814.0%
17Tucson InternationalTucsonAZ$378.28$430.2713.7%
17Fresno Yosemite InternationalFresnoCA$373.75$425.0613.7%
17Tulsa InternationalTulsaOK$379.09$431.0013.7%
20Will Rogers WorldOklahoma CityOK$380.01$431.8513.6%
21Albany InternationalAlbanyNY$379.37$430.7213.5%
22LaGuardiaNew YorkNY$287.92$325.7613.1%
22St. Louis Lambert InternationalSt. LouisMO$348.57$394.2113.1%
24Dallas/Fort Worth InternationalDallasTX$380.71$430.1213.0%
24Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta InternationalAtlantaGA$359.58$406.2313.0%
26John Glenn Columbus InternationalColumbusOH$359.44$405.5112.8%
27Dallas Love FieldDallasTX$301.55$339.9612.7%
28Charlotte Douglas InternationalCharlotteNC$403.94$453.8912.4%
29Rhode Island T.F. Green InternationalProvidenceRI$326.20$365.6312.1%
30Norfolk InternationalNorfolkVA$382.11$427.8512.0%
31General Mitchell InternationalMilwaukeeWI$366.96$410.5111.9%
32Detroit Metro Wayne CountyDetroitMI$400.33$447.6411.8%
32Chicago O'Hare InternationalChicagoIL$352.80$394.3311.8%
32Greenville-Spartanburg InternationalGreerSC$426.14$476.3011.8%
35Birmingham-Shuttlesworth InternationalBirminghamAL$437.05$488.2811.7%
35Louisville Muhammad Ali InternationalLouisvilleKY$338.80$378.5111.7%
37Salt Lake City InternationalSalt Lake CityUT$401.86$448.5511.6%
38Bob HopeBurbankCA$256.08$285.5311.5%
39Des Moines InternationalDes MoinesIA$361.90$403.0611.4%
40Los Angeles InternationalLos AngelesCA$350.96$389.4611.0%
41Indianapolis InternationalIndianapolisIN$351.72$389.3910.7%
42Pensacola InternationalPensacolaFL$384.18$424.8810.6%
43Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood InternationalFort LauderdaleFL$261.07$288.5310.5%
44Richmond InternationalRichmondVA$357.65$394.8310.4%
45McGhee TysonKnoxvilleTN$426.22$470.2710.3%
45Washington Dulles InternationalWashingtonDC$442.03$487.4910.3%
47Palm Beach InternationalWest Palm Beach/Palm BeachFL$350.91$385.9210.0%
48Raleigh-Durham InternationalRaleigh-DurhamNC$338.50$372.009.9%
49San Francisco InternationalSan FranciscoCA$385.19$422.849.8%
50Phoenix Sky Harbor InternationalPhoenixAZ$333.08$365.349.7%
51Luis Munoz Marin InternationalSan JuanPR$283.00$309.749.4%
51Jacksonville InternationalJacksonvilleFL$362.67$396.949.4%
53Pittsburgh InternationalPittsburghPA$343.21$375.099.3%
53Louis Armstrong New Orleans InternationalNew OrleansLA$303.07$331.169.3%
55John Wayne Airport-Orange CountySanta AnaCA$345.65$376.819.0%
55Albuquerque International SunportAlbuquerqueNM$363.93$396.699.0%
57Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood MarshallBaltimoreMD$323.66$352.318.9%
58Austin-Bergstrom InternationalAustinTX$335.83$365.068.7%
58Sarasota/Bradenton InternationalSarasota/BradentonFL$307.38$333.998.7%
60Eppley AirfieldOmahaNE$386.27$419.458.6%
61Reno/Tahoe InternationalRenoNV$357.16$387.628.5%
61William P. HobbyHoustonTX$307.71$333.858.5%
61Syracuse Hancock InternationalSyracuseNY$352.82$382.648.5%
64Spokane InternationalSpokaneWA$395.07$427.678.3%
65Memphis InternationalMemphisTN$371.44$401.908.2%
66Ontario InternationalOntarioCA$330.33$356.948.1%
67Charleston AFB/InternationalCharlestonSC$340.35$366.337.6%
68George Bush Intercontinental/HoustonHoustonTX$374.35$402.557.5%
69Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky InternationalCincinnatiOH$346.45$371.817.3%
70Sacramento InternationalSacramentoCA$335.90$357.656.5%
71Buffalo Niagara InternationalBuffaloNY$328.64$349.786.4%
71Harry Reid InternationalLas VegasNV$253.69$269.926.4%
73Logan InternationalBostonMA$359.44$382.116.3%
74Seattle/Tacoma InternationalSeattleWA$357.85$378.835.9%
75Ted Stevens Anchorage InternationalAnchorageAK$482.39$508.855.5%
76Savannah/Hilton Head InternationalSavannahGA$388.60$409.645.4%
77Kansas City InternationalKansas CityMO$379.49$398.995.1%
78Palm Springs InternationalPalm SpringsCA$380.90$399.614.9%
79Denver InternationalDenverCO$321.46$336.934.8%
79Bozeman Yellowstone InternationalBozemanMT$407.27$426.664.8%
81Orlando InternationalOrlandoFL$262.60$274.084.4%
82Nashville InternationalNashvilleTN$328.61$342.434.2%
83El Paso InternationalEl PasoTX$366.08$380.744.0%
83San Antonio InternationalSan AntonioTX$367.69$382.304.0%
85St. Pete Clearwater InternationalSt. PetersburgFL$137.85$143.273.9%
86Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester InternationalRochesterNY$363.75$377.253.7%
87San Diego InternationalSan DiegoCA$348.98$359.082.9%
87Portland InternationalPortlandOR$386.41$397.432.9%
89Bradley InternationalHartfordCT$350.64$360.062.7%
90Orlando Sanford InternationalSanfordFL$139.48$143.032.5%
91Chicago Midway InternationalChicagoIL$306.35$313.722.4%
92Boise Air TerminalBoiseID$378.79$384.241.4%
93Norman Y. Mineta San Jose InternationalSan JoseCA$302.91$306.681.2%
94Daniel K. Inouye InternationalHonoluluHI$327.65$328.430.2%
94Asheville RegionalAshevilleNC$309.58$310.240.2%
96Metro Oakland InternationalOaklandCA$277.18$275.86-0.5%
97Ellison Onizuka Kona International at KeaholeKonaHI$281.26$265.94-5.4%
98Lihue AirportLihueHI$264.96$243.89-7.9%
99Kahului AirportKahuluiHI$295.68$271.69-8.1%
100Westchester CountyWhite PlainsNY$402.28$369.08-8.3%

Source: LendingTree analysis of domestic BTS data. Notes: 2022 and 2023 data based on first quarter of respective years. The locations and airport names are as listed in the BTS data; names may vary locally. This analyzed the 100 largest airports by total 2022 passengers.

Price fluctuations aside, travelers want to know how much flights will cost them, which is why the study also looked at airport-specific airfare costs as of the first quarter of 2023. (As a reminder, this was the latest available period at the time of research.)

Leading the way with the highest domestic airfare costs are Dane County Regional-Truax Field in Madison, Wis., and Ted Stevens Anchorage International in Alaska — both of which cost more than $500 a ticket.

Smaller airports like Dane County may find it tough to compete with larger airports with more carriers and flights operating. On the other hand, Ted Stevens Anchorage International is the largest airport in Alaska and the third-largest cargo airport in the world, but high prices over the past couple of years have been attributed to everything from higher fuel costs to high demand.

Highest average domestic airfares in 2023

RankAirportLocationState2023
1Dane County Regional-Truax FieldMadisonWI$537.70
2Ted Stevens Anchorage InternationalAnchorageAK$508.85

Source: LendingTree analysis of domestic BTS data. Notes: 2023 data based on first quarter. The locations and airport names are as listed in the BTS data; names may vary locally. This analyzed the 100 largest airports by total 2022 passengers.

As for less expensive flights, the lowest in the nation are in Florida — Orlando Sanford International and St. Pete Clearwater International. What’s likely helping to keep costs down at these two smaller airports is that a good portion of their flights are with the lower-cost carrier Allegiant.

Lowest average domestic airfares in 2023

RankAirportLocationState2023
1Orlando Sanford InternationalSanfordFL$143.03
2St. Pete Clearwater InternationalSt. PetersburgFL$143.27

Source: LendingTree analysis of domestic BTS data. Notes: 2023 data based on first quarter. The locations and airport names are as listed in the BTS data; names may vary locally. This analyzed the 100 largest airports by total 2022 passengers.

Full rankings

Highest/lowest average domestic airfares in 2023

RankAirportLocationState2023
1Dane County Regional-Truax FieldMadisonWI$537.70
2Ted Stevens Anchorage InternationalAnchorageAK$508.85
3Birmingham-Shuttlesworth InternationalBirminghamAL$488.28
4Washington Dulles InternationalWashingtonDC$487.49
5Greenville-Spartanburg InternationalGreerSC$476.30
6McGhee TysonKnoxvilleTN$470.27
7Bill and Hillary Clinton National-Adams FieldLittle RockAR$465.36
8Minneapolis-St. Paul InternationalMinneapolisMN$455.65
9Charlotte Douglas InternationalCharlotteNC$453.89
10Portland International JetportPortlandME$450.42
11Salt Lake City InternationalSalt Lake CityUT$448.55
12Detroit Metro Wayne CountyDetroitMI$447.64
13Will Rogers WorldOklahoma CityOK$431.85
14Tulsa InternationalTulsaOK$431.00
15Albany InternationalAlbanyNY$430.72
16Tucson InternationalTucsonAZ$430.27
17Dallas/Fort Worth InternationalDallasTX$430.12
18Gerald R. Ford InternationalGrand RapidsMI$427.97
19Norfolk InternationalNorfolkVA$427.85
20Spokane InternationalSpokaneWA$427.67
21Bozeman Yellowstone InternationalBozemanMT$426.66
22Fresno Yosemite InternationalFresnoCA$425.06
23Pensacola InternationalPensacolaFL$424.88
24John F. Kennedy InternationalNew YorkNY$424.33
25San Francisco InternationalSan FranciscoCA$422.84
26Eppley AirfieldOmahaNE$419.45
27General Mitchell InternationalMilwaukeeWI$410.51
28Savannah/Hilton Head InternationalSavannahGA$409.64
29Philadelphia InternationalPhiladelphiaPA$406.34
30Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta InternationalAtlantaGA$406.23
31John Glenn Columbus InternationalColumbusOH$405.51
32Des Moines InternationalDes MoinesIA$403.06
33George Bush Intercontinental/HoustonHoustonTX$402.55
34Memphis InternationalMemphisTN$401.90
35Newark Liberty InternationalNewarkNJ$400.49
36Palm Springs InternationalPalm SpringsCA$399.61
37Kansas City InternationalKansas CityMO$398.99
38Portland InternationalPortlandOR$397.43
39Jacksonville InternationalJacksonvilleFL$396.94
40Albuquerque International SunportAlbuquerqueNM$396.69
41City of Colorado Springs MunicipalColorado SpringsCO$395.64
42Richmond InternationalRichmondVA$394.83
43Chicago O'Hare InternationalChicagoIL$394.33
44St. Louis Lambert InternationalSt. LouisMO$394.21
45Ronald Reagan Washington NationalWashingtonDC$391.48
46Los Angeles InternationalLos AngelesCA$389.46
47Indianapolis InternationalIndianapolisIN$389.39
48Reno/Tahoe InternationalRenoNV$387.62
49Palm Beach InternationalWest Palm Beach/Palm BeachFL$385.92
50Boise Air TerminalBoiseID$384.24
51Syracuse Hancock InternationalSyracuseNY$382.64
52San Antonio InternationalSan AntonioTX$382.30
53Logan InternationalBostonMA$382.11
54El Paso InternationalEl PasoTX$380.74
55Seattle/Tacoma InternationalSeattleWA$378.83
56Louisville Muhammad Ali InternationalLouisvilleKY$378.51
57Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester InternationalRochesterNY$377.25
58John Wayne Airport-Orange CountySanta AnaCA$376.81
59Pittsburgh InternationalPittsburghPA$375.09
60Raleigh-Durham InternationalRaleigh-DurhamNC$372.00
61Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky InternationalCincinnatiOH$371.81
62Westchester CountyWhite PlainsNY$369.08
63Southwest Florida InternationalFort MyersFL$368.87
64Miami InternationalMiamiFL$368.31
65Charleston AFB/InternationalCharlestonSC$366.33
66Rhode Island T.F. Green InternationalProvidenceRI$365.63
67Phoenix Sky Harbor InternationalPhoenixAZ$365.34
68Austin-Bergstrom InternationalAustinTX$365.06
69Bradley InternationalHartfordCT$360.06
70San Diego InternationalSan DiegoCA$359.08
71Sacramento InternationalSacramentoCA$357.65
72Ontario InternationalOntarioCA$356.94
73Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood MarshallBaltimoreMD$352.31
74Buffalo Niagara InternationalBuffaloNY$349.78
75Cleveland-Hopkins InternationalClevelandOH$348.82
76Nashville InternationalNashvilleTN$342.43
77Dallas Love FieldDallasTX$339.96
78Denver InternationalDenverCO$336.93
79Sarasota/Bradenton InternationalSarasota/BradentonFL$333.99
80William P. HobbyHoustonTX$333.85
81Louis Armstrong New Orleans InternationalNew OrleansLA$331.16
82Tampa InternationalTampaFL$330.52
83Daniel K. Inouye InternationalHonoluluHI$328.43
84LaGuardiaNew YorkNY$325.76
85Myrtle Beach InternationalMyrtle BeachSC$323.98
86Chicago Midway InternationalChicagoIL$313.72
87Asheville RegionalAshevilleNC$310.24
88Luis Munoz Marin InternationalSan JuanPR$309.74
89Norman Y. Mineta San Jose InternationalSan JoseCA$306.68
90Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood InternationalFort LauderdaleFL$288.53
91Bob HopeBurbankCA$285.53
92Long Beach AirportLong BeachCA$284.74
93Metro Oakland InternationalOaklandCA$275.86
94Orlando InternationalOrlandoFL$274.08
95Kahului AirportKahuluiHI$271.69
96Harry Reid InternationalLas VegasNV$269.92
97Ellison Onizuka Kona International at KeaholeKonaHI$265.94
98Lihue AirportLihueHI$243.89
99St. Pete Clearwater InternationalSt. PetersburgFL$143.27
100Orlando Sanford InternationalSanfordFL$143.03

Source: LendingTree analysis of domestic BTS data. Notes: 2023 data based on first quarter. The locations and airport names are as listed in the BTS data; names may vary locally. This analyzed the 100 largest airports by total 2022 passengers.

Saving money on air travel in 2023 is certainly easier said than done, Schulz says, but it can be done with a little research and savvy money moves.

  • Be flexible on airport and date/time. Flexibility is essential when looking for cheap flights since costs can fluctuate widely if you’re willing to fly at an odd time or from another nearby airport. “If you have some wiggle room when it comes to travel days, times and destinations, you can save yourself some real money,” Schulz says.
  • Leverage airline miles/points. Points and miles can make a dream trip a reality for budget travelers, Schulz says. You’ll need to use them wisely to get the biggest bang for your reward buck — you can even score a free flight if you accumulate enough points. For example, if you can travel during off-peak times, that flight may cost you far fewer miles to book than one you’d take during the busiest time of the year.
  • Get a bonus when you book. If you’ve already put cash away for your trip, consider opening a new travel credit card to pay for the flight — and then pay it off right away, Schulz says. “That way, you can take advantage of that card’s rewards, including a potential sign-up bonus,” he says. Some card bonuses can be worth hundreds of dollars; if you don’t revolve a balance, that’s free money in your pocket.
  • Take advantage of other flying perks that save money (free checked bags, etc.). Have you checked your credit card benefits recently? “Chances are that your credit card has more travel perks than you realize,” Schulz says. Do some homework to learn more about the savings your cards might allow before you arrange your next big trip. “Your card could include everything from free checked bags and priority boarding to insurance on car rentals, baggage delays and even trip cancellation,” Schulz says. Airport lounge access and a statement credit for Global Entry are nice conveniences, too, if your card offers it. The quickest way to learn what your card offers is to call the 800-number on the back of your card and ask. Doing so can potentially save you some real money the next time you travel.

LendingTree researchers analyzed Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) domestic airfare costs data at the national and airport levels.

Average fares are inflation-adjusted and based on the origin city, using data from the BTS’ Origin and Destination (O&D) survey. The airport data analyzed the 100 largest airports by total 2022 passengers. Specifically, we found the cost of inflation-adjusted domestic airfares in the first quarter of 2023 — the latest available at the time of our research. Additionally, we estimated the percentage change in average domestic airfare costs between the first quarters of 2022 and 2023.

The data focuses on round-trip fares but includes one-way trips in which returns weren’t purchased. Fares include the price charged by the airline and taxes or fees at the time of purchase, but they don’t include fees (such as baggage) paid at the airport or on the aircraft.

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