2021 US Regional Airport Cost Rankings: Which Small Airports Are Most and Least Expensive

Our analysis of America’s regional airports finds which smaller airports are the most and least expensive for travelers.
Last updated Jul 8, 2021 | By Josh Koebert | Edited By Becca Borawski Jenkins
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Millions of Americans rely on regional airports for their travel needs. When it comes to both work and leisure, these small airports are invaluable resources for people around the country. Knowing that, our team wanted to examine what average airfare costs look like at these airports.

With the summer travel season underway, we recently looked at how much it costs to fly from different United States airports. Having looked at some of the biggest and busiest airports in the country, we wanted to shine a spotlight on the smaller airports now. With that in mind, we put together this analysis focusing on regional airports from coast to coast.

For those interested in how airfare costs stack up outside of America’s busiest airports, we looked at 95 regional airports from around the country and compared the costs of an average domestic flight from each. Every airport included here is classified as a “non-hub” by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) but still provides service to over 100,000 travelers annually.

In this article

The 25 least expensive regional airports

25 Least Expensive Regional Airports
Cost Rank Airport Location Passenger Volume Rank (Overall, Entire Country) Average Airfare Cost $ Change vs. Previous Year Cost Rank Change
1 Provo Municipal (PVU) Provo, UT 216 $105.51 -$7.24 0
2 Arnold Palmer Regional (LBE) Latrobe, PA 204 $107.87 -$12.69 0
3 Rickenbacker International (LCK) Columbus, OH 176 $114.94 -$28.08 2
4 Trenton Mercer (TTN) Trenton, NJ 177 $120.02 -$8.22 -1
5 Scott AFB/Midamerica (BLV) Belleville, IL 162 $120.10 -$35.54 1
6 Stockton Metropolitan (SCK) Stockton, CA 221 $127.00 -$11.42 -2
7 Chicago/Rockford International (RFD) Rockford, IL 188 $141.08 -$48.99 2
8 Niagara Falls International (IAG) Niagara Falls, NY 225 $153.71 -$16.68 -1
9 Tri-State/Milton J Ferguson Field (HTS) Huntington, WV 206 $171.14 -$65.05 2
10 Portsmouth International at Pease (PSM) Portsmouth, NH 253 $175.84 -$12.35 -2
11 Eugene F Kranz Toledo Express (TOL) Toledo, OH 196 $211.41 -$63.43 2
12 Plattsburgh International (PBG) Plattsburgh, NY 214 $222.28 $13.76 -2
13 Bellingham International (BLI) Bellingham, WA 174 $227.17 -$24.67 -1
14 New York Stewart International (SWF) Newburgh, NY 210 $232.54 -$66.23 2
15 Bishop International (FNT) Flint, MI 132 $243.39 -$99.83 4
16 Lehigh Valley International (ABE) Allentown, PA 127 $254.11 -$65.45 1
17 Valley International (HRL) Harlingen, TX 155 $258.75 -$92.99 5
18 General Downing - Peoria International (PIA) Peoria, IL 137 $269.70 -$79.10 2
19 Snohomish County (Paine Field) (PAE) Everett, WA 154 $273.42 -$4.83 -5
20 South Bend International (SBN) South Bend, IN 123 $289.01 -$92.54 5
21 Central IL Regional Airport at Bloomington-Normal (BMI) Bloomington- Normal, IL 180 $290.84 -$60.87 0
22 Nantucket Memorial (ACK) Nantucket, MA 287 $294.93 $0.54 -7
23 Fort Wayne International (FWA) Fort Wayne, IN 121 $297.66 -$114.70 14
24 Charles M Schulz - Sonoma County (STS) Santa Rosa, CA 184 $300.37 -$24.00 -6
25 Quad City International (MLI) Moline, IL 144 $313.69 -$79.27 2

When examining regional airports across the country, we discovered that travelers who rely on Provo Municipal Airport in Provo, Utah, have access to the least expensive average airfare for domestic flights. Provo Municipal’s average airfare cost is just $105.51. Only one other airport in our analysis has an average cost under $110. That airport is Arnold Palmer Regional, located in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, with an average cost of $107.87.

Even among this list of the 25 least expensive regional airports, we see a huge range of costs. Each of the top ten least expensive airports has average airfare costs under $200. But by the time we get to the number 24 spot on the list, average airfare costs exceed $300. In fact, the average airfare cost for the 25th least expensive airport on this list, Quad City International, is almost three times more expensive than Provo Municipal.

Across these 25 airports, we found that the average airfare cost is $212.66. We also found that these airports saw an average airfare price drop from 2019 to 2020 of $43.99, with Fort Wayne International’s price drop of $114.70 being the biggest single decrease. Interestingly, Fort Wayne International is also the airport with the highest passenger volume of all airports on this list, as it is the 121st most popular airport in the country.

Interestingly, two airports on this list increased airfare prices from 2019 to 2020. Those airports were Plattsburgh International in Plattsburgh, New York, where average airfare costs increased by $13.76, and Nantucket Memorial of Nantucket, Massachusetts, which saw costs increase by $0.54.

Finally, we found that one state stands out above the rest when it comes to affordable airfare from regional airports, and we have good news for travelers living in the Land of Lincoln. Five different Illinois airports make our list of the 25 regional airports with the least expensive airfare costs, a full 20% of the list!

The 25 most expensive regional airports

25 Most Expensive Regional Airports
Cost Rank Airport Location Passenger Volume Rank (Overall, Entire Country) Average Airfare Cost $ Change vs. Previous Year Cost Rank Change
95 Eagle County Regional (EGE) Eagle, CO 218 $518.92 -$50.59 -1
94 Aspen-Pitkin County/Sardy Field (ASE) Aspen, CO 186 $500.50 -$83.52 1
93 MBS International (MBS) Saginaw, MI 227 $464.75 -$75.55 -2
92 University of Illinois-Willard (CMI) Savoy, IL 243 $458.36 -$74.74 -3
91 Jackson Hole (JAC) Jackson, WY 171 $447.66 -$98.71 1
90 Ketchikan International (KTN) Ketchikan, AK 231 $436.63 -$24.65 -27
89 Durango-La Plata County (DRO) Durango, CO 192 $436.39 -$130.17 4
88 Helena Regional (HLN) Helena, MT 236 $429.39 -$63.78 -10
87 Montgomery Regional (Dannelly

Field) (MGM)

Montgomery, AL 193 $416.30 -$119.08 3
86 Lincoln (LNK) Lincoln, NE 226 $415.03 -$65.06 -14
85 Tallahassee International (TLH) Tallahassee, FL 146 $409.65 -$105.50 1
84 Alexandria International (AEX) Alexandria, LA 201 $405.42 -$120.33 5
83 Central Wisconsin (CWA) Mosinee, WI 207 $404.83 -$82.01 -7
82 Yampa Valley (HDN) Hayden, CO 249 $404.78 -$82.00 -7
81 Yeager (CRW) Charleston, WV 187 $403.64 -$97.59 3
80 Grand Forks International (GFK) Grand Forks, ND 223 $403.03 -$58.13 -17
79 Tri-Cities (TRI) Bristol/Johnson/Kingsport, TN 185 $401.39 -$112.06 7
78 Green Bay-Austin Straubel International (GRB) Green Bay, WI 156 $399.84 -$98.78 4
77 Lafayette Regional/Paul Fournet Field (LFT) Lafayette, LA 168 $398.08 -$78.58 -6
76 Montrose Regional (MTJ) Montrose, CO 212 $396.57 -$102.40 7
75 Idaho Falls Regional (IDA) Idaho Falls, ID 189 $395.54 -$92.36 2
74 Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International (AZO) Kalamazoo, MI 208 $395.16 -$84.65 -2
73 Ithaca Tompkins Regional (ITH) Ithaca, NY 245 $393.36 -$70.45 -7
72 Monroe Regional (MLU) Monroe, LA 215 $390.85 -$122.32 13
71 Mobile Regional (MOB) Mobile, AL 157 $387.88 -$103.40 7

On the other side of the coin, we also found out which regional airports have the most expensive average airfare costs. In that regard, Eagle County Regional in Eagle, Colorado, takes the top spot. It has an average airfare cost of $518.92, nearly five times more expensive than the average airfare costs at our least expensive airport in Provo.

Only one other airport in our analysis features airfare costs in excess of $500, and it is also in Colorado. That airport is Aspen-Pitkin County/Sardy Field, located in Aspen. Three other Colorado airports make this list of the 25 most expensive regional airports, making the Centennial State the counter to Illinois’ five least expensive airports.

Across these most expensive airports, we found an average airfare cost of $420.56, over $200 more than the average airfare costs of the 25 least expensive airports. That average is even more interesting given that every single airport on the most expensive list experienced a decrease in average airfare costs from 2019 to 2020, with the average cost decrease being $87.86.

Eleven of these airports service enough travelers to land in the top 200 busiest airports in America, but only one cracked the top 150. Florida’s Tallahassee International is the 146th busiest airport in the country based on how many passengers use the airport annually.

Biggest jump in rankings:

While most airports in our analysis saw average airfare costs decrease from 2019 to 2020, the price changes at these five airports were among the most significant in the country:

  1. Cherry Capital (TVC) - Traverse City, MI (up 38 spots)
  2. Brownsville/South Padre Island International (BRO) - Brownsville, TX (up 27 spots)
  3. Meadows Field (BFL) - Bakersfield, CA (up 21 spots)
  4. Corpus Christi International (CRP) - Corpus Christi, TX (up 18 spots)
  5. Rick Husband Amarillo International (AMA) - Amarillo, TX (up 18 spots)

Biggest drop in rankings:

On the flip side, these airports experienced the largest negative change in our cost rankings:

  1. Bethel (BET) - Bethel, AK (down 32 spots)
  2. Juneau International (JNU) - Juneau, AK (down 29 spots)
  3. Ketchikan International (KTN) - Ketchikan, AK (down 26 spots)
  4. Great Falls International (GTF) - Great Falls, MT (down 23 spots)
  5. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International (AVP) - Avoca, PA (down 21 spots)

Biggest average airfare cost drop vs. previous year:

  1. Cherry Capital (TVC) - Traverse City, MI (-$150.67)
  2. Meadows Field (BFL) - Bakersfield, CA (-$130.86)
  3. Durango-La Plata County (DRO) - Durango, CO (-$130.17)
  4. Monroe Regional (MLU) - Monroe, LA (-$122.32)
  5. Alexandria International (AEX) - Alexandria, LA (-$120.33)

How to save even more on travel

While this analysis provides an interesting and informative look at how airfare prices stack up at regional airports across the country, it is important to remember that we only looked at averages, and the prices outlined above are by no means guaranteed. Even at smaller airports, prices can vary greatly based on any number of factors, so it is important that savvy travelers do everything they can to save money on their trip.

When it comes to that, our team has a few tips on how to save while traveling:

Methodology

We looked at 2020 airfare data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation on April 20, 2021, to compare domestic airfares by origin city. This report calculated average fares based on domestic itinerary fares.

"Itinerary fares" consist of round-trip fares unless a return trip was not purchased, in which case the one-way fare was used. Fares are based on total ticket value, including the price charged by the airline plus any additional taxes and fees levied at the time of purchase. Fares include only the price paid at booking and do not include fees for optional services like baggage fees. Averages also do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares” or a few abnormally high reported fares.

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Author Details

Josh Koebert Josh Koebert is an experienced content marketer that loves exploring how personal finance overlaps with topics such as sports, food, pop culture, and more. His work has been featured on sites such as CNN, ESPN, Business Insider, and Lifehacker.