Top 5 Most Popular Destinations for Last Minute Flights

What Are the Top 5 Most Popular Destinations for Last Minute Flights?

Last-minute flights can make for fun, affordable getaways, if you are willing to pounce on great last-minute deals (and be ready to go quickly). Sometimes a weekend away is just what you need to get your groove back, so why not check out some cheap flight deals and see what’s available?

Here are the five most popular destinations in the United States for last-minute flights, and our insider tips for saving the most money.

1. New York City. You cannot beat New York for excitement and urban adventure, day and night. The three major airports for New York are LaGuardia, Newark, and JFK. Each airport has its advantages and drawbacks, depending on your travel plans.

  • For flying cross-country, particularly on Delta, JetBlue, and American Airlines, JFK is probably your best bet for good airfares. Expect to pay around $60 for a taxi into Manhattan from JFK.
  • For flights from the Midwest or other east coast destinations, you can find good deals in and out of LaGuardia, especially with US Airways, Delta, and Southwest. You will get the cheapest cab ride into Manhattan from LaGuardia, at around $40.
  • Continental is the dominant carrier for Newark Airport. With tolls and tip, a cab ride from Newark into Manhattan will run you about $75.

2. Las Vegas. From shows to slots, Las Vegas makes the perfect spontaneous vacation. Often you will save most on trips to Las Vegas by booking airfare and hotels separately. The two weeks leading up to Christmas often have great airfares, and Southwest regularly has good flight deals to Vegas.

This July, Spirit Air has deals from Chicago to Las Vegas for about $260. Find taxis on the east side of the baggage claim outside exits 1 through 5. You can expect to pay about $15 for a taxi to the strip, or you can ride a shuttle for around $5.

3. San Francisco. San Francisco is a beautiful city for walking, especially in the summertime. San Francisco International is United Airlines west coast hub, and they have recently introduced a few new routes there. Round-trip flights from Dallas to San Francisco are currently going for about $300.

Once you get there, you can take the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) into the city for about $8, or take a taxi, which will set you back $40 or more.

4. Miami. With the heat, the amazing beaches, and the gorgeous Art Deco architecture, it is hard to go wrong visiting Miami. You can find some terrific airfares to Miami this summer, with round-trip tickets from St. Louis averaging around $200. Check fares to nearby Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International as well. Here are some pros and cons of each:

Miami International Airport

  • Shorter drive to your Miami hotel. Taxi fare will vary, but averages around $30.
  • More direct flights to this airport
  • Served by all the major airlines
  • Not many discount carriers fly there

Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (located about 40 minutes north of Miami)

  • Low-cost carriers like JetBlue fly there
  • Less crowded and hectic than Miami
  • Fewer major airlines fly there
  • You’ll have to make the 40 to 50 minute drive to Miami. You can rent a car and take I-95 south, or take a shuttle for about $25.

5. Chicago. The Windy City is full of sophisticated urban life at its best. You can fly from Charlotte to O’Hare Airport in Chicago this summer for about $230 round trip. Be sure to check fares to Midway Airport too. Here are some factors to consider for each airport:

O’Hare Airport

  • Better for international and business travel
  • More standby options when there are problems with flights
  • Security can be a bigger hassle at O’Hare than at Midway
  • Blue Line runs 24/7. At under $3, you will save big over the $40 you would pay for a taxi.

Midway Airport

  • Fewer flights in and out generally mean shorter lines
  • Orange Line is available into the city most of the time (trains run until 1 a.m. except for Sundays and holidays, when they run until 11:30 p.m.)
  • Less hectic than O’Hare

One of the best things about a last-minute getaway – be it for a weekend or a few much-needed days off – that you can usually toss a few essentials into your carry-on bag and be on your way without having to deal with the hassles and fees of checked baggage. Stay up-to-date on our last minute airfares and you will be ready to jump when you see a great travel deal.


Published: June 20, 2011