These Cities Have Seen the Largest Increase in Airfare Prices This Year, Study Shows

·2 min read
Out of focus image of people waiting in line for check-in on flight at airport terminal
Out of focus image of people waiting in line for check-in on flight at airport terminal

Artfoliophoto/Getty Images

Airfare prices have been climbing all around the country at record numbers, but some cities are feeling the pinch even more than others, according to a new study examining the increase in airfare costs this year.

The study, which looked at 128 million airfares in April in cities across the United States, found even the cheapest domestic fare has increased 26% overall compared to last year, according to CheapAir.com. That's even more true in cities with small airports that service smaller metropolitan areas.

In fact, Dayton, Ohio, saw the biggest increase with prices rising 42% this year — amounting to a difference of $109 — for an average domestic airline ticket compared to 2021. That was followed by Greensboro, N.C., and Flint, Mich., which each saw a 38% increase in airfare prices this year.

"The desire for travel came back so intensely, industry experts coined a new term for this post-pandemic enthusiasm – revenge travel," the company wrote in the study. "Business travel hasn't rebounded quite as fast, but it too is on an upswing. With accelerated demand in a still capacity-strapped industry – fares are trending up, and show no sign of slowing."

While airports near larger cities also saw an increase, it wasn't quite as significant. Newark Liberty International Airport, for example, has seen a 17% increase in domestic flight prices this year compared to 2021, while residents in Houston, Texas, are only dealing with a 15% increase. The Manchester-Boston Regional Airport saw the lowest increase in domestic flight prices this year with only a 14% bump, according to the study.

Prices have been rising at historic levels with the Bureau of Labor Statistics noting airfare prices increased more than 18% just in the month of April alone, the sharpest single month increase since 1963. And the demand doesn't show signs of leveling off with AAA predicting air travel will see a 25% increase during the Memorial Day holiday weekend compared to the same time period last year.

Experts point to increased demand and staffing shortages coupled with rising gas prices as a reason for the record prices, a factor United Airlines' CEO Scott Kirby recently blamed as well.

"Jet fuel prices have almost doubled in the past couple of months. And that's really driving the price increases for airlines," Kirby said this week. "We're in the recovery mode from COVID and you're trying to come out of what was the most devastating crisis in the history of aviation. We've got to get back… so we've at least got to recover the increase in jet fuel prices."

To save some money, CheapAir.com recommends travelers book early and consider driving to a larger airport to increase their chances of finding a good deal.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.