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Airfare Surges: Top 5 U.S. Airports Hit Hardest by Price Hikes

Floridian hotspot leads the way in fare rises among domestic airports between the first quarters of 2023 and 2024

by Samir Kadri

October 20, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Miami International Airport

Over the past year, passengers traveling within the United States have had to pay more for airfare at 95 out of the top 100 airports, as per a report by LendingTree. The steepest increase was observed at Miami International Airport (MIA), where airfares rose by 23.9 percent from $297.36 to $368.31 between the first quarter of 2023 and 2024.

Maine’s Portland International Jetport (PWM) is second on the list with a 22.3 percent upsurge to $450.42, while Southwest Florida International (RSW) in Fort Myers and California’s Long Beach Airport (LGB) tied for third place with 18.9 percent increases to $368.87 and $284.74, respectively.

Michigan’s Dane County Regional Airport (MSN) has the ignominy of peddling the priciest domestic plane fares, with flights going for an average of $537.70 each.

Warning: Rates on the Rise

LendingTree’s top credit analyst, Matt Schulz, cautioned customers: “Assume that airfares will keep going up and plan accordingly. If you’re saving today for a dream vacation in the next year or two, try to save a little more than you think you need to.”

The average cost of a domestic plane ticket came in at $381.55 in the first quarter of 2023, up 9.8 percent from $347.56 at the beginning of 2022. However, this is a slower rate of increase than the previous year, with airfare costs up a whopping 28.4 percent from $297.24 between the first quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of this year – a difference of $84.79.

Regarding the 28.4 percent rise in airfare prices since the beginning of 2021, Schulz said: “It clearly proves how much Americans love to travel. Once people started to feel safe about traveling again after the darkest days of the pandemic, the floodgates opened, and people headed to the airport in droves to make up for lost time.”

It seems that despite the increasing cost of travel and rising inflation worldwide, there is still a high demand for air travel. Fortunately, some airports offer cheaper fares, such as Westchester County Airport (HPN) in New York, which experienced an 8.3 percent year-on-year drop in average ticket prices – the largest decline across the nation.

Photo: United Airlines. Courtesy of Denver International Airport.

Following Westchester are three Hawaiian airports– Kahului Airport (OGG), Lihue Airport (LIH), and Ellison Onizuka Kona International at Keahole (KOA), which had price drops of 8.1 percent, 7.9 percent, and 5.4 percent, respectively.

Making up the five airports with price drops is Metro Oakland International (OAK), with a modest 0.5 percent reduction in average airfare cost.

“Flexibility is essential when looking for cheap flights since costs can fluctuate widely if you’re willing to fly at an odd time or from another nearby airport,” the LendingTree report states.

“If you have some wiggle room when it comes to travel days, times and destinations, you can save yourself some real money,” Schulz advises.