Finding a flight at a reasonable price is easier said than done, whether for summer travel, family visits or trying to book ahead of holiday surges. However, data shows that what you pay largely depends on where you live: Flight prices at some airports are increasing much more than others.
To track where people and businesses are most affected by these changes, SmartAsset examined the average domestic flight price from 72 major airports over one year.
- Airfare costs increased by 16% on average across the U.S. Domestic airfare in Q1 2023 averaged $382, up from $328 a year before. The only airport with 100,000 or more passengers in 2022 that saw a price decrease was Kahului Airport in Hawaii.
- Miami International Airport flight prices increased by 31% year over year. The average flight out of Miami grew from $281 to $368 from the beginning of 2022 to 2023. Southwest Florida International Airport had the second-highest growth in airfare, going from $293 to $368 for a nearly 26% increase. Tampa International Airport also made the top 10, with a 20.6% increase in fares.
- Flights cost most out of these airports. Washington Dulles International ($487), Minneapolis-St Paul International ($456), Charlotte Douglas International ($454), and Salt Lake City International ($449) have the most expensive domestic flights. Due in part to its geographical dislocation, flights from Anchorage are most expensive at an average of $508.
- Airfare from New York City increased by about 20% on average. Flights from JFK ($424) got relatively more expensive than from Newark ($400) and LaGuardia ($325). Of all three, Newark sees the most passengers, with nearly 850,000 passengers flying in 2022. JFK sees nearly 700,000 passengers to LaGuardia’s 670,000.
- Oakland’s airport may be a cheaper alternative to San Francisco’s. Flights from San Francisco International Airport saw the nationwide average of a 16% fare increase – but fares at Oakland International airport, a 45-minute drive away, only increased by about 5%. Flights cost an average of $422 from SFO versus $276 from OAK.
Biggest Airfare Price Increases
- Miami International Airport
The average domestic flight out of MIA went from $281 in early 2022 to $368 in 2023 – an $87 increase. Nearly half a million passengers (478,823) transited through MIA in 2022.
- Southwest Florida International Airport
Located in Fort Myers, RSW flight prices average about the same in Q1 2023 as flights out of Miami: $369. This was after nearly a 26% increase from $293 in 2022. The airport is smaller than MIA, with just over 200,000 passengers going through last year.
- Gerald R. Ford International Airport
GRR averaged a 22.52% domestic fare increase over one year, with flights out of this Grand Rapids, MI airport going from $349 to $428. Just shy of 109,000 people used Gerald R. Ford International last year.
- Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport
About four hours southeast of GRR by car, the Cleveland Hopkins International saw a similar hike in airfares of 21.55%. Domestic flights from CLE increased from $287 to $348, which will affect the roughly 250,000 passengers that use this airport in a year.
- Philadelphia International Airport
PHL airfare increased by 21.53% between Q1 2022 and Q1 2023. Over 550,000 passengers had an average domestic flight fare of $334 last year, now averaging $406.
- John F. Kennedy International Airport
Of the NYC area airports, JFK saw the highest surge in prices: 21.29%. The average flight last year was $350, compared with $424 at the beginning of 2023. Roughly 692,000 passengers used JFK in 2022.
- Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport
Just about 593,000 passengers passed through MSP in 2022. Domestic airfares got 21.16% since then, rising from $376 to $456.
- Newark Liberty International Airport
An alternative to JFK for New Yorkers, EWR is the fifth-largest airport by passenger volume in 2022, with nearly 850,000 passing through. Domestic flight prices out of here got 20.85% more expensive over a one-year period, averaging $400 in Q1 2023.
- Tampa International Airport
As the third Floridian airport to make the top 10, TPA saw about 481,000 passengers in 2022. Airfare that year averaged $274, increasing 20.61% to $331 in early 2023.
- Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
This D.C. access point in Arlington, VA had an average domestic flight price of $391 at the beginning of this year, up from $325 in 2022. Roughly 488,000 passengers visited the tarmac in 2022.
Data and Methodology
This study compared Bureau of Transportation Statistics data for the average airfare prices that saw 100,000 or more passengers at U.S. airports in 2022. Data was from Q1 2023 and Q1 2022. Airports were ranked by the percent increase in fares.
Financial Tips for Savvy Travelers
- Set a budget so you can squeeze a little bit more out for trips. Sticking to a budget throughout the year can help you afford higher airfares. SmartAsset’s budget calculator can help you get a clear picture of your current spending and see where cutting back on excess expenses could maximize your savings.
- Be open to alternative flight dates and times to save money. Being flexible with your travel dates, and even airports, can help save money. Don’t forget to budget for differences in lodging or car rentals, however.
- Want to travel in retirement? Create a financial plan that fits your lifestyle. While retirees may have the free time to travel, not all of them have the savings to support it. If you want to have the financial freedom to travel in retirement, it may be worthwhile to speak with a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help assess your current savings strategy and build a plan for the future. SmartAsset’s free tool makes it easy to get connected with one.
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