These Domestic Flights Are Cheaper This Summer

The cost of U.S. domestic flights is down from last year, but why is that?

Man looking outside at flying airplane
(Image credit: Iam Anupong)

Taking domestic flights for your summer vacation might be the answer if you're looking for a cheap getaway this year. However, the cost of flying further afield is more expensive than ever, research has revealed. 

Data from travel company, Hopper shows that flights to Europe and Asia are at their highest in more than five years, with the average ticket to Europe costing $1,100 and an average flight to Asia costing more than $1,800. That’s around a $300 rise from last summer, and it means for a family of four you’d spend more than $4,000 on flights alone. 

But it isn’t all bad news, U.S. domestic flights are 19% cheaper than last summer, and airline fares fell 8.1% from May to June, according to the most recent CPI report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

However, while domestic fares are lower, other aspects of summer travel will remain high. The price for lodging, including hotels and motels, is up 0.4% over the past month and up 5% since June 2022, according to NerdWallet. Additionally, the cost of food away from home was up 0.4% over the prior month and up 7.7% since 2022. You can use NerdWallet's travel inflation price tracker to view how various travel prices have changed compared to pre-pandemic prices.

Here are all the details on why domestic flights are cheaper and which destinations are trending this year. 

Why Are Domestic Flights Cheaper Than Last Summer?

Now is a great time for a vacation in the U.S. even if it’s an airfare away, as flights are 20% cheaper than last summer, according to Hopper. 

So, why have international flights gone up in price while domestic flights are cheaper? Hopper puts it down to a couple of things: greater airline capacity this summer and lower jet fuel prices. 

The average price of a domestic flight currently stands at around $306, which is down from last summer. While it is a 6% rise from 2019 prices, when the average was $288, this represents a small increase of just $18.

Prices for travel at peak times will vary. Hopper says over Labor Day Weekend average flight prices will be $283 per ticket, and Memorial Day Weekend flights will average $274 per ticket.

If you do want to travel overseas and don’t mind spending a few more dollars, off-peak airfares to Canada have gone up by only 2% since last summer — now around $403 on average. Airfares to Mexico and Central America (average price $493) and to the Antilles (average price $501) have also increased by just 2%. 

Most searched destinations in the U.S.

If you’re looking for good-priced domestic flights, Hopper analyzed which destinations in the U.S. are most searched for, along with a good airfare deal. This table is ordered from the most searched, to the least.  

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Destination Flight deal from Hopper
New York City$273
Orlando $215
Las Vegas$264
Los Angeles $326
Miami $252
Chicago $269

It’s a mixed bag of destinations, from city breaks in New York and Chicago to a beach vacation in Miami and fun in the sun at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Your cheapest average one-way ticket is to Orlando at $215, followed by Miami and Las Vegas. 

Hopper suggests flying mid-week to bag a good deal — you can save up to $100 off a domestic return ticket if you fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday. And try to book the first flight of the day, as you’re less likely to be hit by delays and cancellations. 

Vaishali Varu

Vaishali graduated in journalism from Leeds University, UK. She has worked for her local news outlet, the Leicester Mercury as well as writing personal finance stories for digital publications, The Money Edit, MoneyWeek and GoodToKnow. When she is not writing about money-saving, deals, finance hacks and other personal finance topics, Vaishali likes to travel and she's a foodie.

With contributions from