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Airlines & Airports

The Best Airlines to Fly for Cheap International Flights From Your State

Scott Keyes
By 
Scott Keyes
Founder & Chief Flight Expert
3 min read
Last updated 
December 11, 2019

In the last 12 months, we’ve sent more than 7,000 deal emails to members departing from more than 150 US airports in 49* states (plus DC and Puerto Rico). We found those deals available on 90 different international and US-based airlines. 

You might be wondering which airline is most likely to offer a great deal on international flights from your state. We crunched the numbers, and the results may surprise you. Check out the map below to find the best airline for cheap international flights from your state, and read on for more details. 

map of states and which airlines see the most deals.


The results point to a few lessons when it comes to finding cheap international flights from the US. 

Lesson #1: Despite dozens of international airlines serving the US, most deals from your airport will be bookable on one of the big three US carriers.

We have high standards for the deals we send members and there are certain carriers—including Sun Country, Spirit, and Frontier—that we never send to our members. That still leaves nearly 90 airlines, though, with 7 of them US-based and the rest international. 

However, three US legacy airlines still dominate when it comes to the best deals. In every state, the airline that we most frequently found great deals on was either American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, or United Airlines.

Despite not being US-based, Air Canada had the fourth highest number of cheap flights for US travelers, followed by Alaska Airlines and JetBlue.

chart of which airlines sent most deals

Looking at the map, it’s also easy to see some regional patterns when it comes to deals; United often has the most deals in the west, while American offers a lot of deals in the east, and Delta rules much of the south. You might assume that if we found the most deals on an airline, it’s because that airline offers the most flights from that state. But that’s not always the case, as we’ll explain below.

Lesson #2: If you live in an airport monopolized by one airline, the best deals are usually on their competitors.

Some airports are known as hubs for particular airlines and in some cases the airline’s presence is so strong it essentially has a monopoly on that airport. For example, Atlanta is Delta’s biggest hub, and the airline’s flights account for about 1,000 of the roughly 1,300 daily departures from the Atlanta airport, which is Georgia’s largest airport. You might think that with so many flights, Delta would have the most deals, but we actually found more deals on American. In fact, when one airline has a monopoly on an airport’s flights, a good rule of thumb is that the greatest number of deals are typically found on competitor airlines.

We saw this in other states, too. For example, Phoenix (PHX) is an American Airlines hub but we found nearly 20% more deals on United. Conversely, Denver (DEN) is a United hub but we sent nearly 20% more deals on American. Boston (BOS), Detroit (DTW), Salt Lake City (SLC), and Minneapolis (MSP) are all Delta hubs as well, but we saw more deals from those airports (and from the wider states those airports are located in) on American. 

Lesson #3: Don’t ignore the international carriers and smaller US airlines.

Of all the deals we sent, 56% of were bookable on one of the big four North American carriers: American Airlines, Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. These airlines all codeshare with at least a dozen other airlines, which means that many of the deals we send are bookable on both those airlines and another international airline.

But that doesn’t mean you should only look for deals on those airlines. Forty percent of the deals we sent were on smaller US airlines such as JetBlue, Alaska, Southwest, and Hawaiian, or foreign carriers like KLM, Air France, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, or Qantas. 

In some cases, these smaller airlines and international carriers are the only airlines that go to these places; for example, if you want to visit Malta, you’ll need to fly an international carrier. Though the flight may be bookable on a US partner airline thanks to codesharing, at least the final leg would be operated by an international airline. 

chart of breakdown between major airlines and other airlines.

Lesson #4: It’s hard to beat the Star Alliance. 

Across the board, we found the most deals on airlines that are part of the Star Alliance (which includes United and Air Canada). In fact, it was only in one state—Wisconsin—where another alliance beat the Star Alliance in number of deals. And it was close. In Wisconsin, we saw 4% more deals on airlines in the SkyTeam alliance (which includes Delta). 

chart of deals by airline alliance

Lesson #5: More airlines flying from a state = more deals. 

Competition isn’t the only factor that dictates how many deals we find departing from a given airport, but in general, we found that the greater number of airlines flying international routes to and from that state, the more deals we found departing from airports in that state. 

The bottom line: Cast a wide net when looking for cheap flights.

The airline that dominates your region or the airline that’s your typical go-to may not offer the best deals for your particular trip. For the best chance of snagging a great deal, use a search site like Google Flights to search multiple airlines. Or join Scott’s Cheap Flights and let us do the searching for you. 

Breakdown by State

heatmap of deals by state

Note that below, the number of airlines is the number of airlines Scott's Cheap Flights found deals on (not the total number of airlines serving that state) and the number of airports is the number of airports Scott's Cheap Flights serves in that state (not the total number of airports located in that state).

Alabama

Number of deals: 331

Number of airlines: 24

Number of airports: 3

Best airline for deals: Delta 

Alaska

Number of deals: 87

Number of airlines: 14

Number of airports: 3

Best airline for deals: United

Arkansas

Number of deals: 228

Number of airlines: 21

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: American

California

Number of deals: 4,844

Number of airlines: 69

Number of airports: 13

Best airline for deals: United

Colorado

Number of deals: 703

Number of airlines: 42

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: American

Connecticut

Number of deals: 312

Number of airlines: 38

Number of airports: 1

Best airline for deals: Delta 

Delaware

Number of deals: 77

Number of airlines: 16

Number of airports: 1

Best airline for deals: Delta

Florida

Number of deals: 4,019

Number of airlines: 62

Number of airports: 14

Best airline for deals: American

Georgia

Number of deals: 686

Number of airlines: 46

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: American

Hawaii

Number of deals: 371

Number of airlines: 22

Number of airports: 5

Best airline for deals: United

Idaho

Number of deals: 229

Number of airlines: 25

Number of airports: 1

Best airline for deals: United

Illinois

Number of deals: 994

Number of airlines: 62

Number of airports: 4

Best airline for deals: United

Indiana

Number of deals: 232

Number of airlines: 29

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: United

Iowa

Number of deals: 260

Number of airlines: 22

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: Delta

Kansas

Number of deals: 129

Number of airlines: 23

Number of airports: 1

Best airline for deals: Delta/United tie

Kentucky

Number of deals: 222

Number of airlines: 21

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: Delta 

Louisiana

Number of deals: 430

Number of airlines: 28

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: American

Maine

Number of deals: 169

Number of airlines: 25

Number of airports: 1

Best airline for deals: American

Maryland

Number of deals: 729

Number of airlines: 47

Number of airports: 1

Best airline for deals: Delta

Massachusetts

Number of deals: 1,067

Number of airlines: 58

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: American

Michigan

Number of deals: 417

Number of airlines: 39

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: American

Minnesota

Number of deals: 490

Number of airlines: 41

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: American

Missouri

Number of deals: 502

Number of airlines: 33

Number of airports: 3

Best airline for deals: United

Montana

Number of deals: 316

Number of airlines: 22

Number of airports: 4

Best airline for deals: Delta/United tie

Nebraska

Number of deals: 252

Number of airlines: 23

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: United

Nevada

Number of deals: 807

Number of airlines: 50

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: United

New Hampshire

Number of deals: 123

Number of airlines: 20

Number of airports: 1

Best airline for deals: American

New Jersey

Number of deals: 1,064

Number of airlines: 65

Number of airports: 1

Best airline for deals: United

New Mexico 

Number of deals: 213

Number of airlines: 26

Number of airports: 1

Best airline for deals: United

New York

Number of deals: 2,941

Number of airlines: 74

Number of airports: 9

Best airline for deals: American

North Carolina

Number of deals: 877

Number of airlines: 43

Number of airports: 5

Best airline for deals: Delta

North Dakota

Number of deals: 103

Number of airlines: 16

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: Delta

Ohio

Number of deals: 810

Number of airlines: 41

Number of airports: 4

Best airline for deals: United

Oklahoma

Number of deals: 351

Number of airlines: 24

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: United

Oregon

Number of deals: 715

Number of airlines: 40

Number of airports: 4

Best airline for deals: United

Pennsylvania

Number of deals: 982

Number of airlines: 47

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: American

Rhode Island

Number of deals: 197

Number of airlines: 25

Number of airports: 1

Best airline for deals: American

South Carolina

Number of deals: 701

Number of airlines: 31

Number of airports: 4

Best airline for deals: Delta

South Dakota

Number of deals: 146

Number of airlines: 17

Number of airports: 2

Best airline for deals: Delta/United tie

Tennessee 

Number of deals: 766

Number of airlines: 31

Number of airports: 4

Best airline for deals: Delta

Texas

Number of deals: 2,078

Number of airlines: 55

Number of airports: 8

Best airline for deals: United

Utah

Number of deals: 315

Number of airlines: 35

Number of airports: 1

Best airline for deals: American

Vermont

Number of deals: 172

Number of airlines: 25

Number of airports: 1

Best airline for deals: America

Virginia

Number of deals: 1,939

Number of airlines: 65

Number of airports: 7

Best airline for deals: Delta

Washington

Number of deals: 840

Number of airlines: 52

Number of airports: 3

Best airline for deals: United

*West Virginia

Scott's Cheap Flights doesn't search for deals from any airports in West Virginia, however, airports in Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania may be 1-2 hours away. 

Wisconsin

Number of deals: 350

Number of airlines: 22

Number of airports: 4

Best airline for deals: Delta

Wyoming

Number of deals: 144

Number of airlines: 20 

Number of airports: 3

Best airline for deals: United

Methodology

The Flight Experts at Scott’s Cheap Flights  use a combination of technology and human-powered flight searching to look at thousands of possible airfare deals every week. When we find a deal that meets our high standards, we send it to our members with instructions on how to find and book the deal. We send more than 7,000 deals out to US-based members every year, saving travelers an average of $550+ per ticket off normal prices.

The total number of deals referenced in this article is more than 7,000, which is because many deals are valid for multiple airports and on multiple airlines. When we send a deal we’ll note the price for each of the airports where the deal is valid and all the airlines the deal can be found on. 

To reach our conclusions on the best and worst airlines, we tallied up the number of deals sent from each airport we serve in each state, and counted the number of deals that were bookable on each airline. As noted above, there is overlap; some deals are bookable on multiple airlines due to codesharing and price competition.

Last Updated 
December 12, 2019
The Best Airlines to Fly for Cheap International Flights From Your State
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.

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