Smaller Airports near Big Cities Offer Cheaper Airfares, USA Government Data Shows

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When it comes to finding affordable airfares, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, recent data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) sheds light on where travelers can potentially find the best deals. The BTS has released average domestic ticket prices by the airport for 2022, revealing some useful insights.

As a general rule, smaller airports located near major metropolitan areas tend to offer more competitive prices. On the other hand, small, isolated airports often come with higher fares. While this trend holds true based on the BTS data, travel experts suggest that the best airfare deal is the one that aligns with your travel needs. Although larger airports may have higher prices compared to some secondary facilities, they offer certain advantages. The increased number of daily departures means that in case of flight cancellations, passengers may have more flexibility to reschedule their travel plans without significant disruptions.

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Here are the 10 least and most expensive airports in 2022, according to BTS data. The average fares for the nearest major airports are also provided in parentheses where applicable.

10 Least Expensive Airports in 2022:

  1. San Bernardino, California (SBD) – $90.03 (LAX – $416.64)
  2. Santa Maria, California (SMX) – $105.67
  3. Ogden, Utah (OGD) – $109.16 (SLC – $420.30)
  4. Provo, Utah (PVU) – $126.81 (SLC – $420.30)
  5. Stockton, California (SCK) – $130.49 (OAK – $288.23)
  6. Concord, North Carolina (USA) – $133.49 (CLT – $444.42)
  7. Fort Collins/Loveland, Colorado (FNL) – $136.38 (DEN – $341.22)
  8. Wilmington, Delaware (ILG) – $137.64 (PHL – $396.79)
  9. Trenton, New Jersey (TTN) – $143.60 (EWR – $403.22; PHL – $396.79)
  10. Hagerstown, Maryland (HGR) – $144.12 (BWI – $408.58)
    It’s worth noting that smaller airports often attract low-cost carriers, which naturally offer lower fares. However, these airports generally have limited destinations and fewer daily flights, which can contribute to the differences in fares compared to larger airports.

10 Most Expensive Airports in 2022:

  1. Adak Island, Alaska (ADK) – $856.76
  2. Cold Bay, Alaska (CDB) – $963.29
  3. Lanai, Hawaii (LNY) – $966.43
  4. St. Mary’s, Alaska (KSM) – $986.00
  5. St. Paul, Alaska (SNP) – $993.67
  6. Sandpoint, Alaska (SDP) – $1,037.00
  7. Pago Pago (PPG) – $1,139.36
  8. Unalaska, Alaska (DUT) – $1,433.86
  9. Guam (GUM) – $1,589.24
  10. Aniak, Alaska (ANI) – $1,733.00
    The airports in this category are primarily small, isolated airports with limited passenger numbers. Their remote locations and low passenger traffic contribute to the higher operational costs on a per-passenger basis.

In conclusion, for those seeking affordable airfares, smaller airports near major cities often present attractive options. While they may have fewer flight options, they tend to offer more budget-friendly fares. However, travelers should consider their specific travel needs and preferences when choosing between larger and smaller airports.

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