Air travel reached record levels this summer with U.S. airlines carrying an all-time high of 77.9 million domestic and international passengers, according to a Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) estimate.
Crowded flights and long lines aside, the silver lining of an increasing number of travelers is that ticket prices have gotten more budget-friendly in many places.
In 2018, the average domestic itinerary airfare of $350 was the lowest (adjusted for inflation) annual fare since such records were kept in 1995, down 1.8 percent from the previous low of $356 in 2017.
Translation: Getting around the country has become relatively affordable for the average American.
A new study from CompareCards confirms as much, identifying locations around the country where airfare costs have dropped the most. The same report also identifies locations where prices are on the rise.
Overall, the study found that the average airfare at 81 of the 100 largest airports has decreased.
Long Island MacArthur Airport in Long Island; Syracuse Hancock International and Portland International Airports had the largest decreases in average airfare costs. In each of the three locations, average airfare prices fell by more than 10 percent.
Additional locations in the top 10 for price drops included Jacksonville International (-8.4 percent); Savannah Hilton Head International (-8.0 percent); Albuquerque International Sunport (-7.9 percent); Louisville International (-7.8 percent); Luis Munoz Marin International (Puerto Rico) (-7.6 percent); Richmond International (-7.6 percent); Gerald R. Ford International (Grand Rapids) (-7.4 percent); and Fresno Yosemite International (-7.1 percent.)
But there were some very notable exceptions throughout the country.
Chicago’s Midway airport, for instance, saw the largest uptick in average airfare, increasing by nearly seven percent between 2017 to 2018, while airfare from Chicago’s O’Hare jumped four percent.
In general, flying out of the largest airports including Dallas/Fort Worth, Ronald Reagan Washington National, LaGuardia and Phoenix Sky Harbor International was costlier in 2018 than 2017, states the report.
International travel, meanwhile, has never been cheaper, particularly flying from the U.S. to Europe or Asia, said Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights.
“We are living in the golden age of cheap flights,” Keyes said.
The full study, including the list of the top 100 airports and their average airfare cost, can be viewed here.
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