Americans have inflation on the brain with the cost of gas, groceries and other goods and services on the rise. But many are feeling the effects on their wallets in a myriad of other ways.
In the last year, the consumer price index for airline tickets has shot up by 25 percent — the largest jump since the Federal Reserve of St. Louis began tracking the index in 1989. In April alone, airfares spiked 18.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average cost of a “good deal” round-trip domestic flight for June is at $398, according to Hopper. That’s over $100 more than the same month’s average in 2021.
Higher ticket prices, paired with added costs like travel insurance and checked baggage, have led some travelers to put their plans on hold. According to a recent Bankrate survey, 69 percent of those planning summer vacations this year say they are changing their plans due to inflation.
Here’s a look at the average cost of airfare for domestic flights out of the top 10 busiest airports in the US.
|City and Airport||Cost of Airfare|
|Los Angeles (LAX)||$350.25|
Average cost of flying in the United States
A number of factors determine the cost of airfare in the U.S. Among them are distance, time of year you’ll be traveling, cost of fuel and the time of purchase. In recent months, as travel demand has steadily increased post-pandemic and inflation has surged, travelers booking domestic flights are seeing steep airline ticket prices.
Hopper released a report sharing that domestic flight travel has increased costs by 40 percent since January. At an average price of $330 roundtrip, domestic flights are also 7 percent more expensive than they were at this time in 2019. At an average cost of $810 roundtrip, international flights are about the same as they were in 2019.
5 most expensive origin cities for domestic airfare
The cost you pay to fly out of a certain airport varies greatly across the country. This discrepancy in ticket prices can be chalked up to a difference in how many airlines serve that particular airport and overall demand for flights. It will likely cost you more to fly into a smaller airport with less foot traffic than one of the nation’s major airports.
Here’s a look at the top five most expensive airports to fly out of versus the top most affordable airports, based on how much you can expect to pay for airfare.
Top 5 most expensive airports
|City/Territory and Airport||Average cost of airfare|
|Hana, Hawaii (HNM)||$1,164.00|
|Unalaska, Alaska (DUT)||$1,115.62|
|Pago Pago, American Samoa (PPG)||$983.65|
|Cold Bay, Alaska (CDB)||$870.00|
Top 5 most affordable airports
|City and Airport||Average cost of airfare|
|Wilmington, DE (ILG)||$86.28|
|Ogden, UT (OGD)||$96.28|
|Santa Maria, CA (SMX)||$106.16|
|Latrobe, PA (LBE)||$117.48|
|Trenton, NJ (TTN)||$118.00|
How to save on air travel
Even with prices on the rise, there are still a few strategies you can use to trim your overall costs when booking a flight.
- Book ahead: Timing is everything and can translate to major savings when purchasing airline tickets. According to a 2022 study conducted by CheapAir, the best time to book a domestic flight is about 76 days before your travel date, on average.
- Set price alerts: Monitoring flight prices can be a job in and of itself. Automate where you can. Sites like Skyscanner, Hopper, Kayak and Google Flights let you set price alerts, and will notify you when the airline ticket you’re hoping to purchase drops below a certain price point.
- Be flexible: Not only does the timing of your ticket purchase matter, but when you choose to fly is key to saving money as well. When you start planning your trip, see if there’s any flexibility in when you plan to venture off. In 2022, the cheapest day of the week to fly is Wednesday. In fact, choosing a Tuesday or Wednesday flight could save you an average of $56-$57 per airline ticket.
- Opt for a travel card: Travel credit cards help you earn valuable points and miles to put toward flights, hotel stays and other travel-related expenses. If you already have a travel card, see if there are any points you can redeem to maximize your savings. You may also be able to cut down on other costs like travel insurance.
The bottom line
With a busy travel season ahead, it’s important to make your travel plans early and keep in mind that flexibility is key when scoring the lowest fare. Search around your area to see if flying out of a different airport could help you save. And if you have some wiggle room in your schedule, see if changing your travel dates could cut down your costs as well. Lastly, set yourself up for success by allowing enough time to do your research, monitor and compare deals, and look for ways to redeem points so that you can rake in extra savings.