Reports

The Airlines with the Most Cheap Flight Deals from Each State in 2021

By
Scott Keyes
|
Founder & Chief Flight Expert
August 25, 2021
|
3 min read

In the first half of 2021, we’ve sent thousands of deals to members departing from 168 US airports in 48* states (plus USVI, Puerto Rico, and Guam). We found those deals available on 85 different international and US-based airlines. 

You might be wondering which airline is most likely to offer a great deal on flights from your state. While there are so many variables and making broad generalizations can mean missing out on some great deals, there are some lessons to be learned from the data.  

Check out the map below to find which airline offered the most flight deals from your state, and read on for more details. 


map of the US and the number of deals found from each state.


The results point to a few lessons when it comes to finding cheap flights. 

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, with United and American dominating the deals game right now.

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 8 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 or United. While Delta was a close third in number of total deals sent, it didn’t dominate the deals in any one state (though it tied with American for most number of deals departing from Alaska). Note though, that this means a deal was bookable on that airline, not that the flight was operated by the airline, as sometimes the flight is operated by a codeshare partner (more on that in a bit). 

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

number of deals by airline

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: At 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 more than half of the roughly 600 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 good deals, but we actually found more deals bookable on United. 

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 offered by competitor airlines.

We saw this in other states, too. For example, Detroit (DTW), is a Delta hub as well, but we saw more deals from DTW (and Michigan as a whole) on United.  

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

Of all the deals we sent, 58% were bookable on one of the big three American carriers: American Airlines, 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, and the flight may actually have been operated by that other airline.

But that doesn’t mean you should only look for deals on the major airlines. More than 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. 

share of flight deals by big 3 vs all other airlines.



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

Across the board, we found the most deals on airlines that are part of Star Alliance (which includes United and Air Canada). In fact, 36% of all the deals we’ve foundso far in 2021 have been on Star Alliance and it was the dominant alliance for deals in 32 out of 48 states. 

deals sentby SCF by alliance.

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

The single biggest factor guiding how many cheap flights there are on a given route is simply how much competition there is between airlines. Cities and states with more flights tend to see more frequent deals. 

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

Alabama

Number of deals we found: 228

Number of airlines we found deals on: 26

Number of airports we search: 3

Airline with the most deals: United

Alaska

Number of deals we found: 31

Number of airlines: 12

Number of airports: 3

Airline with the most deals: American/Delta tie

Arizona

Number of deals we found: 295

Number of airlines: 43

Number of airports: 4

Airline with the most deals: American

Arkansas

Number of deals: 140

Number of airlines: 22

Number of airports: 2

Airline with the most deals: United  

California

Number of deals: 1,479

Number of airlines: 65

Number of airports: 14

Airline with the most deals: United

Colorado

Number of deals: 324

Number of airlines: 42

Number of airports: 4

Airline with the most deals: United 

Connecticut

Number of deals: 105

Number of airlines: 28

Number of airports: 1

Airline with the most deals: American 

*Delaware

We don’t currently search for deals from any airports in Delaware, but airports in Maryland or Pennsylvania are 1-2 hours away. 

Florida

Number of deals: 1,485

Number of airlines: 57

Number of airports: 14

Airline with the most deals: American

Georgia

Number of deals: 278

Number of airlines: 35

Number of airports: 2

Airline with the most deals: United

Hawaii

Number of deals: 172

Number of airlines: 22

Number of airports: 5

Airline with the most deals: United

Idaho

Number of deals: 103

Number of airlines: 27

Number of airports: 3

Airline with the most deals: American

Illinois

Number of deals: 535

Number of airlines: 61

Number of airports: 7

Airline with the most deals: American

Indiana

Number of deals: 232

Number of airlines: 28

Number of airports: 3

Airline with the most deals: United

Iowa

Number of deals: 276

Number of airlines: 26

Number of airports: 2

Airline with the most deals: United  

Kansas

Number of deals: 78

Number of airlines: 22

Number of airports: 1

Airline with the most deals: United

Kentucky

Number of deals: 298

Number of airlines: 21

Number of airports: 33

Airline with the most deals: United 

Louisiana

Number of deals: 240

Number of airlines: 31

Number of airports: 2

Airline with the most deals: American

Maine

Number of deals: 66

Number of airlines: 20

Number of airports: 1

Airline with the most deals: American

Maryland

Number of deals: 181

Number of airlines: 42

Number of airports: 1

Airline with the most deals: United

Massachusetts

Number of deals: 225

Number of airlines: 52

Number of airports: 2

Airline with the most deals: United

Michigan

Number of deals: 224

Number of airlines: 27

Number of airports: 2

Airline with the most deals: United

Minnesota

Number of deals: 191

Number of airlines: 29

Number of airports: 2

Airline with the most deals: United

Mississippi

Number of deals: 66

Number of airlines: 23

Number of airports: 1

Airline with the most deals: United

Missouri

Number of deals: 351

Number of airlines: 33

Number of airports: 3

Airline with the most deals: United

Montana

Number of deals: 224

Number of airlines: 30

Number of airports: 5

Airline with the most deals: United

Nebraska

Number of deals: 136

Number of airlines: 27

Number of airports: 2

Airline with the most deals: United

Nevada

Number of deals: 276

Number of airlines: 43

Number of airports: 2

Airline with the most deals: United

New Hampshire

Number of deals: 49

Number of airlines: 18

Number of airports: 1

Airline with the most deals: American

New Jersey

Number of deals: 247

Number of airlines: 57

Number of airports: 1

Airline with the most deals: United

New Mexico 

Number of deals: 88

Number of airlines: 26

Number of airports: 1

Airline with the most deals: United

New York

Number of deals: 829

Number of airlines: 64

Number of airports: 9

Airline with the most deals: American

North Carolina

Number of deals: 665

Number of airlines: 39

Number of airports: 8

Airline with the most deals: American

North Dakota

Number of deals: 87

Number of airlines: 23

Number of airports: 3

Airline with the most deals: United

Ohio

Number of deals: 389

Number of airlines: 39

Number of airports: 3

Airline with the most deals: United

Oklahoma

Number of deals: 183

Number of airlines: 25

Number of airports: 2

Airline with the most deals: United

Oregon

Number of deals: 285

Number of airlines: 47

Number of airports: 4

Airline with the most deals: United

Pennsylvania

Number of deals: 460

Number of airlines: 46

Number of airports: 4

Airline with the most deals: American/United tie

Rhode Island

Number of deals: 74

Number of airlines: 28

Number of airports: 1

Airline with the most deals: United

South Carolina

Number of deals: 313

Number of airlines: 30

Number of airports: 4

Airline with the most deals: American/United tie

South Dakota

Number of deals: 107

Number of airlines: 20

Number of airports: 2

Airline with the most deals: American

Tennessee 

Number of deals: 419

Number of airlines: 34

Number of airports: 4

Airline with the most deals: United

Texas

Number of deals: 1,098

Number of airlines: 51

Number of airports: 10

Airline with the most deals: American

Utah

Number of deals: 118

Number of airlines: 34

Number of airports: 1

Airline with the most deals: United

Vermont

Number of deals: 54

Number of airlines: 18

Number of airports: 1

Airline with the most deals: American

Virginia

Number of deals: 681

Number of airlines: 53

Number of airports: 6

Airline with the most deals: United

Washington

Number of deals: 267

Number of airlines: 40

Number of airports: 5

Airline with the most deals: United

*West Virginia

We began serving one airport in West Virginia, Charleston (CRW), in August 2021 so as of publishing we don’t yet have enough data on deals. 

Wisconsin

Number of deals: 246

Number of airlines: 29

Number of airports: 3

Airline with the most deals: United

Wyoming

Number of deals: 42

Number of airlines: 23

Number of airports: 3

Airline with the most 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.

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 
August 25, 2021
The Airlines with the Most Cheap Flight Deals from Each State in 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.

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