If you’re a budget traveler, knowing the best and worst airports for affordable flights can make a significant difference in your travel plans. FinanceBuzz analyzed data on average domestic airfares from the 45 busiest airports in the United States to determine which ones are the most expensive airports for travelers.

The average price of a domestic flight experienced a remarkable growth rate of 14.1% from 2021 to 2022 (equivalent to 23.2% in constant 2018 dollars), marking the second consecutive year of inflation-adjusted airfare price increases since 2014. In 2021, airfare prices increased by 0.3% after accounting for inflation.

Most Expensive Airports

Dulles International Airport (IAD) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) were the only two airports with average airfares exceeding $400 last year. Despite 11 additional airports crossing the $400 mark this year, IAD and SFO remain the most expensive airports in the country.

The average airfare in 2022 from Dulles is $494.78, while from San Francisco it is $456.86. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) ranks as the third most expensive airport in the United States, with an average price of $444.42 for a domestic flight.

Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) and Portland International Airport (PDX) complete the list of the top five most expensive airports, with average ticket prices of $425.35 in the previous year.

On the other end of the spectrum, Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas offers the cheapest airfare in the United States, with an average price of $264.24. Las Vegas has consistently provided the most affordable airfare every year except one since 2018.

RankAirportAverage airfare cost
1Dulles International Airport (IAD)$494.78
2San Francisco International Airport (SFO)$456.86
3Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)$444.42
4 (tie)Portland International Airport (PDX)$425.35
4 (tie)Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)$425.35
Credit: Finance Buzz

Least Expensive Airports

In 2021, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FLL) Airport offered cheaper flights than Las Vegas International Airport (LAS). However, in 2022, Las Vegas regained the title of the most affordable city in the United States, while FLL still provides the second cheapest average airfare at $271.78.

Orlando International Airport (MCO) boasts the third-cheapest average airfare in the United States, coming in at $273.35. This is only a two-dollar premium compared to flights departing from FLL.

With an average cost of $288.23, Oakland International Airport (OAK) secures its position as the fourth cheapest airport in the United States. The last airport with average airfare prices below $300 is OAK. Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW), the fifth cheapest airport, is not far behind at $303.05.

1Harry Reid International Airport (LAS)$264.24
2Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)$271.78
3Orlando International Airport (MCO)$273.35
4Oakland International Airport (OAK)$288.23
5Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)$303.05


FinanceBuzz analyzed the Department of Transportation’s domestic airfare data for 2022, which was made available in April 2023. The analysis focused on domestic itineraries to determine the average costs presented in this report. The average costs represent round-trip tickets, including airline ticket prices and any applicable taxes and fees paid at the time of purchase.

Optional services like baggage fees are excluded from the base fare price. The analysis disregarded “zero fares” and unusually high reported fares, as well as frequent flyer miles. You can find the full report here.