Phoenix, Tucson rank among Top 5 airports for largest price increases
Rising costs of jet fuel, delays, cancellations and inflation have created headaches for travelers this year. And, as a result, consumers are seeing much higher airfare prices across the country. With holiday travel around the corner, SmartAsset investigated the airports where airfare has increased the most and least. Research found that Phoenix Sky Harbor and Tucson International Airport both rank among the Top 5 airports for largest price increases.
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Specifically, we analyzed airfare price increases nationally and across the 100 busiest airports (based on the total number of domestic passengers in 2021). For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, read the Data and Methodology section below.
This analysis is an update to a previous version of this study, which revealed the airports with the largest price increases between Q1 2021 and Q1 2022. Check out the previous version here.
Average airfare prices skyrocketed, increasing nearly 21% over the second quarter of 2022. Data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows that from the first to second quarter of 2022, the average cost of a domestic flight in the U.S. increased by nearly 21% from $328 to $397.
Passengers can expect to pay more than $500 on average at three airports. Dane County Regional (MSN) – which serves Madison, Wisconsin – has the highest average fare of $526. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) follow closely behind with average airfares of $526 and $503, respectively.
Western airports are seeing large increases in airfare. Six of the 10 airports with the largest price increases are in the West, including two in Washington, two in California, one in Idaho and one in Arizona. Of those, Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) ranks worst, with an average airfare of $474 in the second quarter of 2022 (42% and $140 higher than it was a year previously).
Airfare Prices in 2022 Continue to Skyrocket
Some cities have seen even larger recent increases than the nearly 21% national increase. Specifically, four airports had an increase of over 30% – three in California and one Arizona airport. Out of the 100 busiest airports in the U.S., just one experienced a decrease in airfare – Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
With the addition of Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) to the airports with an increase of over 30%, five airports have had an increase of roughly $100 or more between average airfare in the first and second quarters of 2022.
The table below shows the airports with the biggest airfare changes between the first and second quarters of 2022, ranked according to both the percentage change and dollar change.
Where Airfare Has Increased the Most
To determine the airports with the largest increases in airfare, we compared the 100 busiest airports across three metrics: average airfare in the second quarter of 2022 (one-way and round-trip, domestic flights), as well as the one-year percentage change and dollar change in average airfare.
1. Pensacola International Airport (PNS) - Pensacola, FL
In the second quarter of 2022, the average fare at Pensacola International Airport (PNS) falls was $462. This is more than 51% higher than a year previously, or a dollar value higher of $157.
2. Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) - Fresno, CA
The Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) has experienced an increase of roughly $140 in its average airfare since the second quarter of 2021, bringing the average fare to $474 (the seventh-highest overall). As a percentage, this is an increase of about 42%.
3. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) - Seattle, WA
The average airfare for flights out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is $437, 23rd-highest in this study. This figure is about 49.18% and $144 higher than it was in the second quarter of 2021, representing both the second-worst percentage and dollar changes in average airfare.
4. Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) - Bozeman, MT (Tie)
Passengers departing through Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) can expect to pay $134 more than they did last year on average. In the second quarter of 2022, the average fare reached $442 - the 19th-highest average in our study.
4. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) - Los Angeles, CA (Tie)
Of the 12 California airports included in this study, the largest - Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) - ranks worst for recent airfare increases. The average airfare is $448 (15th-highest) and LAX airport has the sixth-highest one-year percentage change in average fares (42.22%) and the seventh-highest dollar change ($133).
6. Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) - Birmingham, AL
Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) is one of three airports included in this study where the average airfare exceeds $500. Specifically, that figure for 2022 is $503 and is 37.52% higher than it was in 2021. In gross numbers, the average airfare increased by $137 (fourth-highest dollar change).
7. Spokane International Airport (GEG) - Spokane, WA
Spokane International Airport (GEG) has the 21st-highest average fare of $438 in the months leading up to summer. Compared to 2021, the average fare has increased by roughly $129 and it is one of 13 airports that have had an increase in price that exceeds 40% in the same one-year period.
8. Tucson International Airport (TUS) - Tucson, AZ
Tucson International Airport (TUS) has the eighth-highest average fare ($470) when compared with the other 99 airports considered. Over a one-year period, passengers departing from TUS have paid roughly $128 more on average (11th-highest dollar change), which equates to a 37.60% change (18th-highest).
9. Boise Airport (BOI) - Boise, ID
Boise Airport (BOI) has the fourth-highest percentage increase in airfare over a one-year period (43.29%) and the 12th-highest dollar change over the same time period ($128).
10. Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport (DTW) - Detroit, MI
With a dollar change of $126, Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport (DTW) has the 14th-highest dollar increase over the one-year period between 2021 and 2022, bringing the average airfare to $430. This increase equates to a nearly 42% change. For the second quarter of 2022, the average airfare is the 27th-highest of 100 airports in this study.