The Cheapest and the Most Expensive Airports in the U.S.

The Cheapest and the Most Expensive Airports in the U.S.

Newark International Airport
We all know that the airport can be an expensive place and, even if a ticket was purchased at a discounted price, that’s not the entire cost of embarking on your next adventure.

Extras like parking, a cab or an Uber, a luggage-cart, a cup of coffee, and a snack or a meal at the airport are common costs travelers need to account for when budgeting a trip.

For the first time, The Points Guy report evaluated the 50 biggest airports in the country (by passenger count) to determine the 25 most affordable and the 25 most expensive among them.

The report looked into the average price of domestic airfare, the price of a luggage-cart, parking fees, costs to take an Uber to and from the city center, and what you pay for a coffee (at Starbucks or a similar chain when Starbucks is not available) – even the number of Priority Pass lounges and restaurants that some travelers use to offset costs with food and beverage.

Surprising or not, the airport with the most expensive average fares is not necessarily the most expensive airport on this list. For example, Newark Liberty International took the #1 spot as the most expensive, even though its average departure flights are cheaper than from Dallas/Fort Worth, Charlotte, Houston, and Washington Dulles.

The most expensive:
  1. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) (Newark, New Jersey)
  2. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) (New York City, New York)
  3. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) (Dulles, Virginia)
  4. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) (San Francisco, California)
  5. LaGuardia Airport (LGA) (New York City, New York)
  6. Salt Lake City International (SLC) (Salt Lake City, Utah)
  7. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) (Houston, Texas)
  8. Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  9. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) (Charlotte, North Carolina)
  10. Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) (Hennepin County, Minnesota)
  11. O’Hare International Airport (ORD) (Chicago, Illinois)
  12. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) (Detroit, Michigan)
  13. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) (Atlanta, Georgia)
  14. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) (Dallas and Tarrant counties, Texas)
  15. Bradley International Airport in Hartford (BDL) (Windsor Locks, Connecticut)
  16. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) (Austin, Texas)
  17. St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) (St. Louis, Missouri)
  18. Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) (Chicago, Illinois)
  19. Kansas City International Airport (MCI) (Kansas City, Missouri)
  20. John Wayne Airport (SNA) (Santa Ana, California)
  21. John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH) (Columbus, Ohio)
  22. Indianapolis International Airport (IND) (Indianapolis, Indiana)
  23. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) (Arlington, Virginia)
  24. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) (Phoenix, Arizona)
  25. Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) (Honolulu, Hawaii)
airport costs - coffee
The most affordable:
  1. McCarran International Airport (LAS) (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  2. Orlando International Airport (MCO) (Orlando, Florida)
  3. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
  4. Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) (San Jose, California)
  5. Oakland International Airport (OAK) (Oakland, California)
  6. Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL) (Dallas, Texas)
  7. Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) (Baltimore, Maryland)
  8. Tampa International Airport (TPA) (Tampa, Florida)
  9. Miami International Airport (MIA) (Miami, Florida)
  10. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) (Kenner, Louisiana)
  11. Sacramento International Airport (SMF) (Sacramento, California)
  12. Nashville International Airport (BNA) (Nashville, Tennessee)
  13. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) (Cleveland, Ohio)
  14. Portland International Airport (PDX) (Portland, Oregon)
  15. Denver International Airport (DEN) (Denver, Colorado)
  16. Logan International Airport (BOS) (Boston, Massachusetts)
  17. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) (Hebron, Kentucky)
  18. Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) (Morrisville, North Carolina)
  19. William P. Hobby Airport in Houston (HOU) (Houston, Texas)
  20. San Diego International Airport (SAN) (San Diego, California)
  21. San Antonio International Airport (SAT) (San Antonio, Texas)
  22. General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
  23. Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  24. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) (Seattle, Washington)
  25. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) (Los Angeles, California)
Airport costs - averages

According to the report, “travelers may not go out of their way just to enjoy a less expensive cup of coffee, but it’s important to remember that the cheapest flights may not be worth it if you find yourself relying on a luggage cart to get to the check-in counter, or if you plan on taking an Uber or Lyft to the nearest city center.”

Sources:
forbes.com, “Newark Named Most Expensive Airport In The United States” by Alexandra Talty. Nov 14, 2019
thepointsguy.com, “These are the cheapest (and most expensive) airports in the US” by Melanie Lieberman, Michael Y. Park and Liz Hund. Nov 14, 2019