Reports

The 21 Best Cheap Flight Deals of 2021

By
Scott Keyes
|
Founder & Chief Flight Expert
pier over the water in the Maldives.
December 10, 2021
|
6 min read

It’s been another big year at Scott’s Cheap Flights. As millions of people around the world got vaccinated, countries reopened, travel came roaring back, it was an exciting time—and one with plenty of deals. In fact, this year we saw a lot more deals for summer and for last-minute travel, and we introduced two entirely new deal types: Weekend Getaways and Elite deals for travel in business, first, and premium economy. 

In 2021, we sent more than 3,000 emails alerting members to cheap flights and Mistake Fares around the world, to destinations well-known and off the tourist path. And, every day, we heard from members who snagged cheap flights for travel both this year and into 2022. 

Here are the best cheap flight deals we sent in 2021. As always, these aren’t just any deals. We have strict standards; all deals have to pass our Bestie Test, which means they can’t have multiple long layovers or be on airlines like Spirit. And if you missed these, don't worry, there are more where that came from (and you can check out the destinations we think will be cheaper in 2022 here).

Note that all prices below are roundtrip.  

21. Costa Rica — $170 nonstop 

Regular price: $550
Departure cities: NYC
Travel period: November 2021–June 2022

Members in the NYC area get some of our best deals, and this was a prime example. $170 nonstop for flights down to Costa Rica just when East Coasters need it most, from November through the winter (as far out as June 2022). 

20. Yellowstone / Bozeman — $115 

Regular price: $400
Departure cities: NYC
Travel period: March–May 2021

This was another deal only good from NYC, but it was our best-ever price for a weekend trip out west at a time when most of the world was still closed to Americans, and getting folks in our biggest city a screaming deal like this was exciting.

NYC nonstop flight deal.

19. New York — $59 nonstop 

Regular price: $250+
Departure cities: Charlotte and Dallas
Travel period: March–May 2021

Nonstop on American with a full-sized carry-on for about the price of a tank of gas. Pretty, pretty, pretty good. 

18. Hawaii — $197 nonstop 

Regular price: $1,000+
Departure cities: Charlotte
Travel period: select dates in May

We generally don’t send deals where the available dates are super limited, but for every rule there’s an exception, and this one was a no-brainer. Charlotte to Hawaii for $197 nonstop. Just stop it. Wait, no don’t stop it. 

17. Italy — $351-$377 regular economy 

Regular price: $1,000+
Departure cities: Los Angeles and Santa Ana
Travel period: October 2021–March 2022 including Thanksgiving 

You can’t be mad at regular economy fares (including checked bag) from California to Italy starting at $351, particularly as Europe was just beginning to reopen to Americans. Given that the upgrade from basic economy to regular economy is typically $75 each way, this was the equivalent of a basic economy flight at around $200. 

16. USVI & Puerto Rico — $162-$168

Regular price: $600+
Departure cities: Denver, Houston, San Francisco, and DC
Travel period: April–June 2021

The USVI have been one of the biggest pandemic beneficiaries in terms of increased capacity and low fares. This resulted in lots of stellar fares to St. Thomas and St. Croix throughout the year, but this deal in particular deserves a shoutout for having some of the best-ever fares from California to the Caribbean.

15. Indian Ocean Islands — $759-$894 

Regular price: $1,500+
Departure cities: 24+ cities around the US
Travel period: January–March 2022

Sure, an economy fare in the $700s/$800s isn’t really “cheap” by most standards, but when the destinations are the Maldives and Mauritius, this is about as good as it gets, especially from smaller cities like Cedar Rapids, Madison, Dayton, and Green Bay. 

14. Eastern Europe / Caucasus — $1.5k-$1.9k business class 

Regular price: $3,500+
Departure cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, NYC, Newark
Travel period: October 2021–March 2022

These widespread business class fares throughout Eastern Europe, Turkey, Georgia and Armenia included some of our best ever fares to these destinations. From Belgrade to Budapest, Warsaw to Zagreb, you could take your pick of dozens of destinations for $2,000 off normal prices.

screenshot of Maldives flight deal.

13. Maldives — $1.7k-$2k business class 

Regular price: $4,500-$6,000
Departure cities: Chicago and DC
Travel period: July 2021–June 2022

Flying the world’s best business class suites to a bucket list destination for nearly $4,000 off normal prices. These fares were in the extremely fancy Qsuites on Qatar Airways, which means not only a lie-flat bed but a whole suite with doors, plush bedding, and even pajamas. 

12. United Kingdom — $1k business class 

Regular price: $3,500+
Departure cities: New York
Travel period: August 2021–April 2022

Another record-breaker, these were the best-ever business class fares we’ve seen to the UK outside of Mistake Fares. While London wasn’t included, this one covered spots all over Scotland, England, and Wales including Cardiff, Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Bristol. 

11. Aruba — $220-$239 

Regular price: $600+
Departure cities: Nashville, Austin, and New Orleans
Travel period: November–mid-December 2021

JetBlue has expanded their offerings aggressively as of late, which has resulted in some outstanding Caribbean prices, even from markets that used to be out of luck. This one was from Nashville, Austin, New Orleans, all lowest-ever-finds for winter travel to a popular destination.

10. Puerto Rico — $114 

Regular price: $400+
Departure cities: Atlanta and Detroit
Travel period: January–March 2022

A winter trip to Puerto Rico for $114 roundtrip. There’s not much more that needs to be said. 

9. Iceland — $248 

Regular price: $800+
Departure cities: Baltimore, Chicago, DC
Travel period: August–September 2021

Sent in July for those still looking for a late-summer adventure, this one had availability through September (aka the perfect time to visit Iceland). 

8. Europe / Mediterranean — $985+ business class  

Regular price: $3,500+
Departure cities: Boston, Chicago, Miami, Newark, San Francisco, DC
Travel period: April–September 2021

Whether you love or hate TAP, you can’t scoff at lie-flat business class fares below $1,000, especially during peak summer season to some of the most popular European cities like Lisbon, London, Paris, and Amsterdam.

7. Thanksgiving weekend — $57+

Regular price: $300+
Departure cities: 20+ cities
Travel period: November 2021–February 2022, including Thanksgiving weekend 

Along with Christmas and New Year’s, Thanksgiving is typically one of the most expensive times to travel within the US. So when we found a slew of amazing nonstop deals ranging from $57 to $198 for Thanksgiving weekend, we had to package them up and share. 

6. Spain — $242-$296

Regular price: $850+
Departure cities: 100+ cities across the US
Travel period: November 2021–February 2022

In early September we saw a slew of widespread deals to Europe. This one, to Spain, had prices as low as $242 from airports big and small all over the US. Destinations included Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, and Valencia, with most flights available to Madrid. 

5. Japan — $202 

Regular price: $1,000+
Departure cities: Chicago, Denver, Newark, Houston, San Francisco
Travel period: October 2021–March 2022

Yes, Japan is still closed to tourists so it’s anyone’s guess if tickets for March and April will need to be rescheduled, but it’s hard to argue that these prices and the widespread availability of this deal aren’t worthy of our best-of list. (And if your flight gets canceled, the airline should refund you or let you pick a new date for free). 

screenshot of Scott's Cheap Flights deal to Hawaii.

4. Hawaii — $256-$302 

Regular price: $800+
Departure cities: 24+ cities across the US
Travel period: November–mid-December 2021

This deal included some of our best-ever Hawaii fares from the eastern United States with prices like Raleigh to Honolulu for $299, Omaha to Kona for $256, and NYC to Maui for $302 roundtrip. (And we’ll throw in an honorable mention to this $198 nonstop fare to Hawaii, which hit from the usual West Coast suspects of LA and Phoenix, but also from Dallas and Chicago).

3. Greek Islands — $445-$460 

Regular price: $1,000+
Departure cities: 22 US cities
Travel period: October 2021 and March–May 2022

Greece’s famed islands are typically so prohibitively expensive to reach, we named a travel hack after them, so we were pretty excited to find fantastic one-stop fares to Rhodes from two dozen cities all over the US. 

2. Alaska — $155-$298 

Regular price: $550-$800
Departure cities: 70+ US cities
Travel period: October–December 2021

This widespread deal to the 49th state included some best-ever fares from NYC ($179), Kansas City ($161), Vegas ($171), Orlando ($199), and Philly ($199).

1. Europe — $591-$688 premium economy  

Regular price: $1,500+
Departure cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, San Francisco, DC
Travel period: November 2021–March 2022

This Elite-only deal contained the very best premium economy fares we’ve ever seen to Europe at over $1,000 off the normal price. Enough said.

Missed these deals? Don't worry, there's always another cheap flight deal around the corner. Join Scott's Cheap Flights and when we find amazing deals like these you'll be the first to know.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Last Updated 
December 10, 2021
The 21 Best Cheap Flight Deals of 2021
Scott Keyes
Founder & Chief Flight Expert

Scott has traveled to 46 countries (and 46 states!), living in California, to Oaxaca, to Oregon. He’s left-handed, drinks five cups of tea daily, and holds a vendetta against the “Happy Birthday” song. On a dare, he once ate 13 hot dogs (and a bowl of Dippin’ Dots) at the ballpark. He grew up in Ohio and founded Scott’s Cheap Flights in a Denver coffee shop. Favorite airport: PDX.

Get alerts about cheap flights up to 90% off normal prices
Find out when airlines accidentally publish the wrong prices
Save hundreds on summer, peak season and holiday flights
Sign Up
Right arrow