The 20 Most Affordable U.S. Airports

The Cheapest Airports for the Cheapest Tickets

Ever wonder which airports in the United States are cheapest to fly in and out of? Of course you do: FareCompare readers are always looking for the best flight deals.

Thankfully, the U.S. Department of Transportation keeps statistics on airfare and their Office of Aviation Analysis reports the information quarterly. The latest DOT data available is from the fourth quarter 2010 – and we have it for you in the tables below.

First, though, a few definitions will help you understand the information a little bit better:

  • “Average fares” refer to the average one-way prices paid by all fare-paying passengers. They include first class fares, but do not include free tickets, such as those acquired through frequent flier programs.
  • “Expensive airports” reflect a broad range of fares available from that airport, and also indicate that, for whatever reasons, the number of low-fare seats is very limited. With expensive airports, consumers have to work a little harder to find the lowest fares for the route they want.
  • These statistics are based on average prices paid by travelers in the 1,000 largest U.S. city-pair markets in the 48 contiguous states. These travel markets account for around 75% of all passengers in the lower 48 and 70% of all domestic passengers in all 50 states.

With that in mind, here are the 20 most affordable airports in the U.S.

Rank City Airport Code Average Fare
1 Atlantic City ACY $99
2 Spokane GEG $127
3 Boise BOI $127
4 Rochester ROC $127
5 Lubbock LBB $134
6 Long Beach LGB $135
7 Akron CAK $135
8 Reno RNO $136
9 Oakland OAK $138
10 Burbank BUR $140
11 Milwaukee MKE $142
12 Little Rock LIT $142
13 Ontario/San Bernardino ONT $146
14 Buffalo BUF $146
15 Manchester MHT $147
16 Islip ISP $149
17 Dayton DAY $150
18 Grand Rapids GRR $152
19 Orlando MCO $155
20 Fort Myers RSW $150

Cheapest Airports By Distance

It’s common sense that the price of a plane ticket depends on a variety of factors; distance being one of the most important. For example, it’s going to be more expensive to fly from Boston to San Francisco than, say, Chicago to St. Louis.

With that in mind, the following table considers the cheapest city pairs in five distance ranges. Las Vegas and Fort Lauderdale figure prominently, though neither appears in the top 20 cheapest airports in the U.S., and neither does St. Petersburg.

Distance Range (miles) Cheapest City Pair Average Fare (One Way)
Less than 500 Las Vegas-Long Beach $92
501-1000 Atlantic City-Fort Lauderdale $98
1001-1500 Grand Rapids-St. Petersburg $119
1501-2000 Las Vegas-Milwaukee $151
Greater than 2000 Fort Lauderdale-Las Vegas $163


Fortunately, FareCompare takes a lot of work out of finding the cheapest airline tickets, particularly if you’re flexible about travel dates and using alternate nearby airports.


Published: September 28, 2011