Is Chicago the Cheapest City to Fly From This Summer?

According to Wallet Hub (a personal finance resource site), Chicago is the cheapest city to fly from – on average – to the most popular U.S. and international destinations this summer.

Chicago can be the cheapest, sure. But not for everyone all the time. And there are ways to save on flights no matter where you fly. [See the tips after the chart]

LISTEN: So which is really the cheapest airport? Let's see what Rick says.

Cheapest Airports – With an Explanation

How Wallet Hub came up with the rankings is fascinating and complicated. First they took the most popular U.S. and international vacation destinations (though they may not be your favorites), then paired them with the largest U.S. metropolitan areas, comparing "airfare costs, flight times, and the number of connections for round-trip flights from each [city] to the airport(s) serving each popular vacation destination" and assigned specific weights for ranking purposes. Whew.

Here is their top 10 and you can see the complete list here.


Best Overall

Departure Ranking

U.S. Domestic Departure Ranking

International Departure Ranking

1. Chicago5.1.
2. Washington, D.C.6.3.
3. New York City7.2.
4. Charlotte3.8.
5. Philadelphia1.13.
6. Atlanta2.15.
7. Miami9.5.
8. Orlando8.6.
9. Detroit4.19.
10. Boston10.7.


What's Missing

Californians may be asking, "Hey, where's my airport?" but LAX ranked a lowly 41 and poor Burbank didn't make the list at all. But as the Wallet Hub analysts point out, this may have more to do with the popularity of Europe and the Caribbean for international vacation destinations as opposed to some of the cheaper Asian cities.

How to Save from Your Airport

The two best ways to save:

  • Always compare airfares. No single airline always has the cheapest prices – if you don't compare, you could pay too much. And if your airport is on the small side (or even medium-sized), also compare flights from hubs near you.
  • Fly the cheapest days. Generally, you will find much better fares on Tuesdays, Wednesday and often Saturdays.
Anne McDermott
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