Reports

US Destinations with the Most Cheap Flights in 2021

By
Scott's Cheap Flights
|
SCF Team
June 29, 2021
|
10 min read

At Scott’s Cheap Flights, the mission we undertake every day is to help our members get amazing flight deals, no matter where they want to go. 

When it comes to deals to destinations within the US, we typically save our members around $200 per ticket, and we use the same high standards to ensure our members only get the best deals. We don’t send out alerts about flights on airlines like Spirit or Frontier, for example, or flights with multiple layovers or super short notice. 

We send deals to destinations around the US, but the fact remains that some destinations see more deals than others thanks to a number of factors, including the number of airlines serving the area, and the amount of competition on various routes to and from that city.

To determine which cities in the US are among the cheapest to reach right now, we looked at metro areas with a population of at least 300,000 people, and collected data on how many deals to those cities we sent to Scott’s Cheap Flights Premium members so far in the first six months of 2021. 

If you’re looking to visit one of the cities on our "best" list, you’ve got an excellent chance of scoring an amazing deal. But, if you want to visit one of the cities on our "worst" list, it doesn’t mean it has to cost hundreds of dollars. As we list out the “worst” cities below, we also offer some tips on how you can still get there cheaply. 

Here are the results. 

The US Cities with the Most Cheap Flights in the First Half of 2021 

The cities that see the most frequent deals have a few things in common: They’re major cities with large airports that are served by a lot of airlines and have a lot of competition, which helps keep prices low. 

Even the 10th best airport on our list saw deals to the destination about once per week, on average so far in 2021. But we didn’t just look at the total number of deals. In cases of a tie based on the number of deals, we also factored in the average price and the number of departure cities that received deals to that destination. 

Eagle-eyed readers may also notice that the lowest price sent in 2021 is the same among many destinations. That’s because some of our lowest prices were found in large nation-wide deals on Southwest and United early in the year. 

Here are the cities we sent the most deals to so far in 2021. 

Orlando (MCO).Normal economy price from the US: $250-$400 roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $138 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $58 roundtrip.

Ten domestic airlines operate 86 direct domestic flights to Orlando, which is the busiest airport in Florida. It’s a hub for Silver Airways, an operating base for JetBlue, Southwest, and Spirit Airlines, and a focus city for Frontier Airlines—and though we don’t send our members deals on Spirit or Frontier, all that competition helps keep the deals coming.

In the last six months, we’ve sent SCF members 20 deals to Orlando from 46 departure airports, so chances are, if you wanted to snag a cheap flight to Orlando in 2021, you had at least one opportunity. 

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 20

Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Orlando:

Miami (MIA)Normal economy price from the US: $250-$400 roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $121 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $58 roundtrip.

Our next airport on the list is another Florida one (and, spoiler, it’s not the last). South Florida’s Miami airport sees frequent deals thanks to the seven domestic airlines serving 76 nonstop domestic routes from just about all corners of the country. Downward pressure from competition at nearby Fort Lauderdale airport helps even more. In 2021 so far we sent 21 deals to Miami departing from 80 different airports around the country. 

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 21

Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Miami:

Chicago O’Hare (ORD).Normal economy price from the US: $250-$300 roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $100 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $57 roundtrip.

For anyone who has flown through Chicago O’Hare Airport, it may not be a surprise that it’s one of the busiest airports in the world. It’s a hub for both United and American and a focus city for Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines—all together it’s served by 11 domestic airlines and offers direct flights to Chicago from 177 cities in the US. 

While it’s tied with Fort Lauderdale based on the number of deals we’ve found to the city so far in 2021, Chicago has a slight edge because the average price was a bit lower and we found those deals from a lot more airports—106 to be exact—so even more members had the chance to fly to the Windy City cheaply. 

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 21

Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Chicago:

Phoenix (PHX).Normal economy price from the US: $250-$400 roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $111 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $57 roundtrip.

Arizona's largest and busiest airport, PHX was the 8th-busiest airport in the United States in 2020.  

It’s a base for Southwest and American Airlines (the latter of which has a monopoly with nearly 46% of all passengers) along with 10 other domestic airlines collectively serving 112 direct domestic destinations, and keeping competition strong and deals frequent. In 2021, we sent 24 deals to Phoenix departing from 52 airports in the US. 

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 24

Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Phoenix:

Denver (DEN).Normal economy price from the US: $225-$300+ roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $111 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $57 roundtrip.

Denver is served by 12 domestic airlines offering direct service from 189 US destinations. It’s a hub for both United Airlines and Frontier Airlines and a base for Southwest Airlines and it’s the fifth-busiest airport in the US. Though we never send deals on Frontier, its presence helps ensure lots of competition and frequent deals. 

While Denver tied with Phoenix based on the number of deals sent so far, it edges ahead based on the number of departing airports. Members departing from 78 airports got deals to Denver in the last six months, so just about no matter where you live in the US, you likely had the option to score a cheap flight to the Mile High City this year. 

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 24

Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Denver:

Fort Lauderdale (FLL).Normal economy price from the US: $175-4400 roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $149 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $58 roundtrip.

Our third and final Florida airport in the top ten, Fort Lauderdale is also tied with Denver and Phoenix based on number of deals, but wins due to the large number of departing airports for those deals at 83. 

FLL is a hub for Spirit Airlines and a focus city for JetBlue, Allegiant, and Southwest, and though we don’t send our members deals on Spirit Airlines or Allegiant, their presence helps drive down fares on the other carriers. In total, ten domestic airlines offer direct flights to FLL from 77 US destinations. 

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 24

Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Fort Lauderdale:

San Diego (SAN).Normal economy price from the US: $250-$400 roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $144 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $57 roundtrip.

San Diego is a focus city for Alaska Airlines and is served by 10 additional domestic airlines offering direct service to the city from 67 airports. 

Even better, there’s direct service from all corners of the US, from more than 40 states. Whether you’re in Miami or Minneapolis, St. Louis or Seattle, Boston or Bozeman, you likely already had the opportunity to head to San Diego on a cheap flight with one (or no) stops—and we see no reason that’ll change anytime soon. 

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 25

Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to San Diego:

Las Vegas (LAS).Normal economy price from the US: $250-$300+ roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $128 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $57 roundtrip.

Las Vegas is the busiest US airport that doesn’t operate as a hub for Delta, United, or American.

But, Vegas still has a lot of competition helping keep prices down. It does serve as a base for Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Spirit Airlines (we send our members deals on Southwest but not the others) with 12 domestic carriers in total offering direct flights to Sin City from a whopping 188 cities across the US. In 2021, we sent our members deals from 50 of those cities. 

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 27

Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Las Vegas:

Honolulu (HNL).Normal economy price from the US: $600-850+ roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $360 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $138 roundtrip.

Hawaii’s Honolulu airport on the island of Oahu is the main hub for Hawaiian Airlines. While it’s only served by 7 domestic airlines offering direct flights from 36 US cities, there’s a lot of competition that helps keep the deals coming on a regular basis—and not just from the West Coast. 

In the first six months of 2021, we sent 34 deals to Honolulu departing from an incredible 131 airports around the US, which means the vast majority of SCF members had the opportunity to book a deal to HNL at some point this year. And, with airlines like Southwest launching more direct routes to Hawaii, we expect those opportunities to keep coming. 

It’s also worth noting that we saw almost as many deals (with similarly great prices and a large number of departing airports) to Hawaii’s other islands, but those metro areas don’t meet the 300,000 population threshold for this list. 

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 34

Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Honolulu:

Los Angeles (LAX).Normal economy price from the US: $275-350+ roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $121 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $57 roundtrip.

The third-busiest airport in the world and the second-busiest airport in the US, LAX is served by 12 domestic airlines offering direct flights from 113 destinations across the US. It’s also a hub or focus city for more airlines than any other airport in the US: Alaska, American, Delta, and United and a focus city for JetBlue and Southwest. And due to all that, it’s consistently one of the best airports for deals. 

In fact, you’re looking for a deal to LA, you’ve had an average of 1.5 chances per week so far this year, depending on your airport. 

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 35

Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Los Angeles:

The US Cities with the Least Cheap Flights in the First Half of 2021

The cities on our worst list tend to be smaller cities in the West, Southwest, and Midwest. In 2021 so far, we sent our members less than one deal per month to these cities, on average. And while members across the country likely received amazing deals to the cities on our best list, only members in a handful of cities received deals to the cities on our worst list. 

But here’s the great thing: In most cases, you can still get to these cities cheaply by flying into a nearby airport and driving 1-2 hours. Below, we map out how you can still snag an affordable flight to each of these cities. 

Colorado Springs (COS).Normal economy price from the US: $275-$300+ roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $151 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $58 roundtrip.

Colorado Springs may be Denver’s second-busiest airport, but it’s far down the list when it comes to deals. The small airport is only served by five airlines with direct flights from ten cities in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Illinois, and Texas. 

If you can’t find a good deal to Colorado Springs though, getting there more cheaply is easy. Just fly to Denver, which is only 90 minutes away and was #6 on our best list, with nearly five times the number of deals.  

While Colorado Springs is tied with the next entrant on our list by number of deals, we’ve ranked it slightly higher, as we sent deals to COS from 14 different airports around the US.

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 5

Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Colorado Springs:

Columbus (CMH).Normal economy price from the US: $225-$350+ roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $81 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $57 roundtrip.

While it’s Ohio’s second-busiest airport, John Glenn Columbus International Airport is only served by 7 domestic airlines offering flights from 40 US cities and deals aren’t all that frequent. But if you’ve got a visit to Ohio’s state capital on your bucket list, you can still get there relatively cheaply. 

You can open up a lot more chances for deals by looking at options into Dayton, which is about an hour away, or Akron, Cleveland, Toledo, or Cincinnati, all of which are about two hours away. Or you could get creative and combine your trip with some time in Pittsburgh, which is about three hours away and gets double the amount of deals from spots around the US. 

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 5

Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Columbus:

Albuquerque (ABQ).Normal economy price from the US: $300-$350+ roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $161 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $58 roundtrip.

ABQ is tied with Colorado Springs, Columbus, and our #7 entry for number of deals, but we sent members deals to Albuquerque from just a few more airports than the next entry (5 vs. 3) so it claims our 8th worst spot. 

The largest airport in New Mexico, it’s served by nine domestic airlines that offer direct flights from 23 US cities in the West, Midwest, Southwest, and on both coasts. To more than double your chances of scoring a cheap flight, keep an eye on deals to Santa Fe as well. The airport is only about an hour from Albuquerque. 

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 5

Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Albuquerque:

Greenville (GSP).Normal economy price from the US: $350+ roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $66 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $57 roundtrip.

The second-busiest airport in South Carolina, Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport is served by five airlines offering direct flights from 21 US cities, mostly in Florida, Georgia, and on the East Coast. While we found five deals to Greenville for our members so far this year, they only departed from three different airports, so only a small group of SCF members had access to a deal to the city. 

You can open up a lot more possibilities by checking out deals to Charlotte as well. In the last six months we’ve sent our members 30 deals to Charlotte Douglas airport departing from 24 cities—and Charlotte is a mere 90 minutes from Greenville, making it an easy commute.

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 5

Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Greenville:

Kansas City (MCI).Normal economy price from the US: $350+ roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $66 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $57 roundtrip.

Kansas City International Airport is served by 8 airlines offering direct flights from 48 cities across the US, so no matter where you are, you can likely get there with one connection or via a nonstop. Unfortunately, deals just aren’t all that common. So far in 2021, we sent our members four deals to KC departing from four US cities. 

Making it more complicated: there’s really no alternate airport within a reasonable driving distance. If you’re coming from afar though, you could look at snagging a deal to Denver or Chicago and then booking a connection from there. From either city, flights are under two hours and typically cost around $100 roundtrip if you book in advance.

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 4

Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Kansas City:

Wichita (ICT).Normal economy price from the US: $300+ roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $59 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $58 roundtrip.

Wichita’s Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport is served by seven domestic airlines that offer direct flights from 14 US destinations. While it is the largest and busiest airport in Kansas, we’re sorry to say it doesn’t fare much better than Kansas City for deals. While the two are tied for number of deals, we’re ranking Wichita a bit lower because we only found deals to the city from two airports. 

As with Kansas City (which is three hours away), there’s not a lot of alternatives, though flights from Denver can be around $150 roundtrip when booked in advance.  

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 4

Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Wichita:

Milwaukee (MKE).Normal economy price from the US: $250-$400+ roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $117 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $58 roundtrip.

Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport is a focus city for Southwest Airlines, and is served by seven additional domestic airlines that collectively offer direct flights from 37 cities around the US.  

If you’re itching to explore Brew City and can’t find a cheap flight, there’s an easy fix: Just fly into Chicago. The Windy City is accessible via a 90-minute drive, bus, or train ride, or very short flight, and we send our members seven times as many deals to Chicago as we do to Milwaukee—and from more than 100 cities!

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 3

Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Milwaukee:

Bakersfield (BFL).Normal economy price from the US: $225-$400+ roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $97 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $57 roundtrip.

It’s probably no surprise Bakersfield makes our worst list, when you consider its Meadows Field airport is served by just two domestic airlines that offer direct flights from San Francisco, Phoenix, Denver, and Dallas. That’s part of the reason why, while it’s tied with Milwaukee based on number of deals we found for our members so far this year, we ranked it lower. 

The good news is that travelers who want to visit have plenty of alternative options if they’re willing to drive. Burbank and LAX airports are both within about two hours’ drive and Long Beach, Santa Ana, and Ontario airports are within three hours. 

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 3

Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Bakersfield:

Lexington (LEX).Normal economy price from the US: $300-$350+ roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $83 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $57 roundtrip.

Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport is set among the rolling hills of Kentucky horse country but sadly it’s not as lucky as the winning racehorses who live there when it comes to deals. Only four domestic airlines offer direct flight from 17 US cities, and that lack of competition tends to keep prices high. 

But, Louisville’s airport is just about an hour’s beautiful drive away, and we sent our members about three times the number of deals to Louisville than we did to Lexington so far this year—and from a lot more cities. In fact, members departing from 36 cities in the US got deals to Louisville, so whether you want to visit the Louisville slugger museum or watch a horse race in Lexington, you can get there cheaply. 

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 2

Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Lexington:

Tucson (TUS).Normal economy price from the US: $850+ roundtrip.Average Scott’s Cheap Flights economy price: $92 roundtrip.Lowest Scott’s Cheap Flights price in 2021: $87 roundtrip.

While Tucson is tied with Lexington by number of deals, it takes our #1 worst spot because the two deals we found only departed from one city. Great for those who live in Seattle. Not so much for anyone else. 

Only eight airlines offer direct domestic flights from 18 cities in the US, mostly in the West and Midwest. But, Phoenix, which is one of the places we found the most deals to, is less than two hours away by car. So, if you’re dreaming of saguaro cactuses and cotton candy desert sunsets, you can still make it happen on a cheap flight. 

Deals sent Jan-June 2021: 2

Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Tucson:

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Last Updated 
June 29, 2021
US Destinations with the Most Cheap Flights in 2021
Scott's Cheap Flights
SCF Team

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