It is notoriously expensive to book a flight during the holiday season, and this year the national average cost of airfare hit $397 during the second quarter, a high not seen since 2014, according to recent data from SmartAsset.
The SmartAsset survey reported the average fare and percent change in ticket prices at 100 U.S. airports over the past year. It first rounded up the 100 busiest U.S. airports based on the number of domestic travelers in 2021.
From there, SmartAsset looked at three things:
- Average airfare cost
- One-year percent change in airfare
- One-year dollar change in airfare
All data came from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and compares the second quarter with the year-earlier period.
Overall, airfare has skyrocketed in price. The national average increased 21%.
These are the 10 most expensive airports to fly out of in the U.S., according to SmartAsset.
1. Madison, Wisconsin — Dane County Regional-Truax Field
Average fare: $526
Percent increase: 34.54%
Dollar amount change: $135
2. Washington, D.C. — Washington Dulles International Airport
Average fare: $526
Percent increase: 33.06%
Dollar amount change: $131
3. Birmingham, Alabama — Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International
Average fare: $503
Percent increase: 37.52%
Dollar amount change: $137
4. San Francisco — San Francisco International
Average fare: $499
Percent increase: 28%
Dollar amount change: $109
5. Greer, South Carolina — Greenville-Spartanburg International
Average fare: $490
Percent increase: 35.62%
Dollar amount change: $129
6. Greensboro, North Carolina — Piedmont Triad International
Average fare: $486
Percent increase: 35.41%
Dollar amount change: $127
7. Fresno, California — Fresno Yosemite International
Average fare: $474
Percent increase: 42.15%
Dollar amount change: $140
8. Tucson, Arizona — Tucson International
Average fare: $470
Percent increase: 37.6%
Dollar amount change: $128
9. Little Rock, Arkansas — Bill and Hillary Clinton Nat Adams Field
Average fare: $466
Percent increase: 36.22%
Dollar amount change: $124
10. Pensacola, Florida — Pensacola International
Average fare: $462
Percent increase: 51.28%
Dollar amount change: $157
Though prices are high, there are still strategies you can try to save money on airfare.
First of all, “the sooner you book your flights, the less money you’ll spend,” Amanda Poses, founder and travel consultant at Poses Travel & Co., tells CNBC Make It.
The second you know what trip you want to take, book it, Poses said. Planning as far ahead as possible will hopefully put you ahead of the curve of when your flight becomes more in demand.
Another good thing to look out for is the option to check your luggage online. A lot of the time, it’s less expensive to purchase a bag online for your flight than to check it in person, she said.
And planning ahead for vacations should not be limited to airfare. “Even if your plans are booked, you should be booking transfers, dining and anything you want so you get the most value out of your trip,” Poses said.
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