Culture / Travel

Houston Airfare Pain

Cheap Flights Much More Abundant at Other Major Business Hub Airports

BY // 07.27.15

Almost everyone grouses about the cost of flying these days, but it turns out that Houstonians may have extra reason to complain.

Houston’s airports are among the priciest in America when it comes to major business hubs. While Atlanta (second cheapest), Dallas (third least expensive), New York (La Guardia comes in fourth), Chicago (fifth) and even Los Angeles (19th) all have airports ranked among the 20 least expensive in the country, no Houston airport even cracks the Top 30.

Hobby Airport ranks No. 32 in the new 2015 Airport Affordability Index. George Bush International Airport comes in at No. 41. The price rankings, complied by CheapFlights every year, measure the average airfares travelers booked to popular domestic and international destinations.

Hobby and Bush’s average airfares come in at $337 and $356, respectively. To put that in perspective, the average airfare out of the No. 1 airport in affordability (Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International) is only $199, and passengers flying out Dallas’ Love Field pay $251 per flight on average.

The top five most affordable airports have all seen an influx of cheap flights from discount airlines, while Houston is more anchored by stable, established dominant carriers (United out of Bush and Southwest out of Hobby). There’s reason for hope, though.

Cincinnati ranked 77th in the 2014 Price Index and 2015 No. 2, Atlanta, was not much better at 73rd. Airfares are anything but staid and predictable. Airfare analysts are also forecasting that airfares will drop to record lows overall in the U.S. this fall because of a combination of a Justice Department investigation into possible airline collusion, dropping fuel costs and less passenger demand.

What that means specifically for Houston’s airports remains to be seen.

It is already even more pricey to fly from some other parts of Texas. San Antonio’s average ticket comes in at $434, and El Paso, which is ranked 95th out of the 101 airports on the index, carries a whopping $554 average flight price.

And no one’s confusing El Paso with No. 101 Honolulu International. No one wants to leave Honolulu.

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