THE BLOG
07/22/2014 06:13 pm ET Updated Sep 22, 2014

2014 Airport Affordability Report -- Ranking 101 U.S. Airports on Average Airfares to Popular Destinations

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Cheapflights.com has tapped into its extensive database of airfare searches to compile its 2014 Airport Affordability Index. This report is an annual look at who's up and who's down in the world of airline travel. The ranking is based on the average airfares our site users found in the month of June for flights to a mix of domestic and international destinations from 101 of the most popular airports across the country.

This fifth annual Airport Affordability Index is, as always, a snapshot of the airfares. Prices do fluctuate regularly in every market and on every route but, by running this comparison each year, we are able to spot some key trends. The biggest takeaway is that large airports may not always be your best bet when looking for affordable flights. Long Beach, which has been ranked in the top 5 every year we've done this index, is a prime example. Located just over 20 miles from Los Angeles International Airport, Long Beach often offers good price incentives for making the drive on both short and long haul trips. The average airfare in June from Long Beach to Seattle was $172 compared to $206 when departing from Los Angeles International. For flights to London Heathrow, users looking to leave from Long Beach were finding an average fare of $1,095 versus the $1,167 users were averaging on flights out of Los Angeles International.

Likewise, a number of small market airports fared particularly well in this year's comparison. Some airports that made big jumps include Wichita Mid-Continent in Kansas (up 59 places to rank number 11) and Joe Foss Field in Sioux Falls, SD, which broke onto the list of popular airports and took the number five spot. The top-performing regional airports are generally served by a bargain airline or two that create price pressure for the market. Whether flying from a regional or alternative airport, travelers can expect to connect on longer haul flights. However, it is worth considering such an airport on either end of your travels.

"Too often, travelers have tunnel vision about airports," said Melisse Hinkle, site editor at Cheapflights.com. "They are conditioned to drive to a major city or will focus on the one airport closest to their destination. Our findings with this index show it's always worth comparing a few options. Your hometown airport may have just the ticket you need. On the other hand, an hour's drive to a different airport may be a major money saver. Our message, as always, is do your homework!"

Of the 101 airports in the ranking, below are the 10 with the lowest average round-trip airfares, including taxes, for travel to the most popular destinations:

Rank - Airport - Average Airfare
  1. Charleston International, SC (CHS): $191
  2. Long Beach (Daugherty Field), CA (LGB): $200
  3. Harrisburg International, PA (MDT): $236
  4. Dallas Love Field, TX (DAL): $266
  5. Joe Foss Field, SD (FSD):$267
  6. Chicago Midway, IL (MDW): $269
  7. Bob Hope Airport, CA (BUR): $274
  8. San Jose International, CA (SJC): $277
  9. Myrtle Beach Jetport, SC (MYR): $287
  10. Bradley International, CT (BDL): $295

On the flip side, our users found the highest average round-trip prices, including taxes, at these 10 airports:

Rank - Airport- Average Airfare
92. Northwest Arkansas Regional, AR (XNA): $513
93. Anchorage International, AK (ANC): $521
94. Port Columbus International, OH (CMH): $524
95. Boise Air Terminal (Gowen Field), ID (BOI): $536
96. Southwest Florida International, FL (RSW): $562
97. El Paso International, TX (ELP): $568
98. John F. Kennedy International, NY (JFK): $581
99. Tulsa International, OK (TUL): $596
100. Newark International, NJ (EWR): $694
101. Honolulu International, HI (HNL): $842

Methodology
Cheapflights.com compiled this ranking based on user searches on the site during the month of June 2014. The airports ranked were 101 of the most-searched-for airports and the average airfares were calculated using the flight prices our users found to the most popular domestic destinations, including Las Vegas, Orlando, Honolulu, Atlanta, Denver, New York, San Juan and San Francisco, and international destinations, including Dublin, Paris, Los Cabo, Vancouver and London.

Cheapflights.com's full list of the 101 airports ranked on affordability, can be found at www.cheapflights.com/news/2014-airport-affordability-report.

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