Unveiling America’s 5 Most Budget-Friendly Airports for 2024

A male passenger sits in an airport departure terminal.
Photo Credit: Wolfart via Pexels

Some hopeful news for budget travelers – average airfare prices finally took a dip in 2023. Overall, the US national average dropped by a modest 3.1% when adjusted for inflation.

Although the decrease is relatively minimal, it marks the first decrease since the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Traveling on a budget remains a high priority for many air travellers in 2024, and with that in mind, we take a look at average ticket prices across a range of major domestic airports.

The team at FinanceBuzz analyzed domestic airfare data from the Department of Transportation for the 45 busiest airports in the United States.

The aim of the exercise was to discover which US airports are best for travelers on a budget, as well as which ones to avoid if you are trying to travel affordably.

The analysis, based on the airfare data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, sheds light on the most affordable airports for domestic flights. It also identifies airports that may put more of a strain your travel budget.

A passenger walks to the airport terminal.
Photo Credit: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi via Pexels

Top 5 Least Expensive Airports

Here’s where you can find the sweetest flight deals:

  • Orlando International Airport (MCO) takes the crown as the most budget-friendly airport, boasting an average ticket price of $265.58.
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) follows closely behind at $270.68.
  • Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas, last year’s top contender, falls to third place with an average fare of $272.15. Orlando’s minimal year-over-year increase likely contributed to this shift, offering excellent value for a popular tourist destination.
  • Oakland International Airport (OAK) and Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) round out the top five, with average fares hovering around $300. Notably, only three U.S. airports offer average ticket prices below this mark.
A passenger atands in front of an airport arrivals and departures screen.
Photo Credit: Jan Vašek from Pixabay

Airports to Watch When Planning a Budget Trip

While some airports cater to budget-conscious flyers, others come with a heftier price tag. Here are the five most expensive airports to depart from:

  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) retains its dubious honor as the most expensive for the third consecutive year, with an average fare of $488.40.
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) comes in second at $444.59.
  • Airports in Salt Lake City (SLC), Charlotte (CLT), and Detroit (DTW) complete the top five, all exceeding the $400 mark.
Air travelers in a busy airport terminal.
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Shifting Sands: Ranking Fluctuations

This year’s rankings show remarkable stability compared to 2022’s volatility. No airport saw its affordability ranking change by more than eight positions, suggesting a more predictable landscape is unfolding for budget travelers.


FinanceBuzz analysis utilized domestic airfare data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation in May 2024.

They compared domestic airfares by origin city, with average fares calculated based on domestic itinerary fares.

The Takeaway

Planning your next trip? If overall travel cost is a major consideration, consider starting your journey at one of these budget-friendly airports.

By being strategic about your departure point, you may well save some money and put those extra funds towards exploring your destination!

The full report from FinanceBuzz is available here. Happy travels!

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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