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The Cheapest and Most Expensive U.S. Airports To Fly From

By Peter Vanden Bos
Read time: 5 minutes

It may seem like airfares are constantly on the rise, but there are still plenty of tips and tricks you can employ to score a great deal. In addition to using the right search engine and being flexible with your desired travel times, another key consideration is the airport you’re flying out of. To help your search, we’ve compiled the cheapest and most expensive airports to fly from, based on data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics for average domestic airfare from the top 100 U.S. airports by passenger volume (Q4 2023). Find out if your home airport made the list.

Most Expensive U.S. Airports To Fly From

5. Washington Dulles International Airport – Virginia

Main terminal building at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia
Credit: Sergey Strelkov/ iStock via Getty Images Plus 

Located in northern Virginia about 25 miles west of Washington, D.C., Dulles (IAD) opened in 1962 as the world’s first airport purpose-built for the jet age. The airport features a historic main terminal building designed by renowned Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen. It may look pretty, but if you’re planning a trip out of Dulles (a major hub for United Airlines), be prepared for higher fares. Dulles ranks fifth on the list of most expensive major U.S. airports, with an average cost of $484.78 for domestic itineraries. Fortunately, D.C.-area residents have a couple of lower-priced alternatives nearby: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). 

4. Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport – Alabama

Empty terminal pick-up/drop-off area at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Alabama
Credit: ReDunnLev/ iStock via Getty Images Plus 

Birmingham-Shuttlesworth (BHM) is Alabama’s largest and busiest airport. Southwest is the airport’s largest airline, and the carrier offers nonstop flights to cities such as Baltimore, Denver, and Las Vegas. But despite Southwest being a low-cost airline, Birmingham flyers face some of the highest airfares in the U.S. — an average of $494.65 in the fourth quarter of 2023.

3. Northwest Arkansas National Airport – Arkansas 

Pair of travelers standing in check-in area of Northwest Arkansas National Airport
Credit: picturelibrary/ Alamy Stock Photo

Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA) sits about 15 miles southwest of Bentonville, the global headquarters of retail giant Walmart, and 10 miles northwest of Springdale, where Tyson Foods is headquartered. Thanks to this business traffic, the airport offers service to major domestic destinations such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C. And since business travelers are typically more willing to pay higher fares, the average price of a domestic ticket from XNA was $500.21 in 2023. 

2. Dane County Regional Airport – Wisconsin

Regional jet parking at gate at Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, Wisconsin
Credit: Robert Nickelsberg via Getty Images News 

Dane County Regional Airport (MSN) is the primary gateway for Madison, Wisconsin’s state capital. Like Northwest Arkansas Airport, it sees a high volume of business travelers, with health care software company Epic Systems based nearby, as well as state government traffic. That also means pricey fares for flights from MSN — to the tune of $534.27 in the last quarter of 2023.

1. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport – Alaska

Roadway and terminal building exterior at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska
Credit: Doug Wilson/ Alamy Stock Photo

Given its remote location and distance from other major U.S. cities, it probably comes as little surprise that Anchorage’s airport ranks as America’s most expensive major airport to fly from. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) saw an average domestic airfare of $534.90 in late 2023. The airport serves as a primary gateway for visitors to Alaska and is also a major cargo hub. In fact, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it briefly held the top spot on the list of busiest airports thanks to the need for increased cargo flights.  

Least Expensive U.S. Airports To Fly From

5. Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport – Puerto Rico

Exterior of terminal building at San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marin Airport in Puerto Rico
Credit: Michael Dwyer/ Alamy Stock Photo

Now, on to the good news: Ranking as the fifth-cheapest airport in the country is San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marin Airport (SJU). In recent years, the gateway to America’s most populous territory — and its beautiful beaches and historic architecture — has seen an increase in service from budget airlines such as Frontier and Spirit. That helped to drive down the average airfare on domestic itineraries to $285.15 last year. (Just beware of those pesky fees if you book on those airlines.)  

4. Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport – Nevada

Baggage claim area at Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport in Nevada, seen from above
Credit: Boarding1Now/ iStock via Getty Images Plus 

Sin City has long been one of America’s most popular vacation destinations, and fortunately, Las Vegas also has one of the country’s most affordable airports. The average domestic itinerary cost just $280.77 in late 2023. Las Vegas’ airport (LAS) was formerly called McCarran International Airport but was renamed in 2021 in honor of late U.S. Senator Harry Reid.  

3. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport – Florida

Palm trees outside of terminal building at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida
Credit: Boarding1Now/ iStock via Getty Images Plus 

Florida is another perennially popular vacation spot, and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is one of the Sunshine State’s most budget-friendly gateways. The airport serves one of the country’s 10 biggest metropolitan areas, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach region, and it can be a convenient (and often more affordable) option for visiting nearby attractions such as Miami’s South Beach. The airport’s Q4 2023 average domestic airfare was $264.16.

2. Orlando International Airport and Orlando Sanford Airport – Florida

Control tower and jet taxiing at Orlando International Airport in Florida
Credit: Jerry Driendl/ Photodisc via Getty Images 

America’s second-cheapest airport is located 17 miles away from the country’s second-most-popular tourist attraction: Walt Disney World. Orlando International Airport (MCO) is not only the busiest airport in Florida but also the eighth-busiest airport in the nation, serving 24.5 million passengers in 2022. Its average domestic airfare was $261.23 in the fourth quarter of 2023. Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) was even cheaper to fly from, with an average airfare of $128.42, though it offers far fewer flights and is located farther away from downtown.

1. Lihue and Kahului Airports – Hawaii 

Aerial view of Lihue Airport on Kauai Island, Hawaii
Credit: Matteo Colombo/ DigitalVision via Getty Images 

Like Alaska, Hawaii is located thousands of miles from the continental U.S. But surprisingly, the state is home to several of the nation’s cheapest airports to fly from. These include Lihue Airport (LIH) on Kauai, with an average domestic airfare of $250.98, and Maui’s Kahului Airport (OGG), with an average airfare of $257.93. Kona Airport (KOA) on the Big Island also ranked high for affordability, as its average fare was $267.62. Much of that is due to short inter-island hops, but if you’re looking for an affordable domestic beach getaway from the mainland, it still might be worth considering the Aloha State. 

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