The Best and Worst US Airports for Cheap International Flights

Scott Keyes
June 2, 2023
14 min read
Scott Keyes
June 2, 2023
14 min read
Table of Contents
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The team of Flight Experts at Going spends hundreds of hours every week searching for flight deals. In the last twelve months, we sent thousands of emails with flight deals from 182 US airports.

We have high standards for our deals, too. We don’t send deals on certain budget airlines (like Spirit, Frontier, or Allegiant), we don’t send super-last-minute flights or flights with terrible routing. In short, we only send truly great deals to our members—with a savings of $550 per international economy ticket, on average—and we know that when it comes to scoring cheap international flights, geography counts.

Some airports simply see more frequent flight deals than others, thanks to a number of factors including the amount of airlines serving the airport and the amount of competition on various routes from that airport.

To determine which airports offer the most frequent deals on economy class international flights—and which major airports offer the least—we looked at commercial airports in metro areas with a population of at least 700,000 people, and collected data on how many deals we sent to Going members for cheap flights departing from each airport in the past year.

Here are the results.

If you live near one of the best airports, you’re in luck; your airport often has great deals on economy class international flights. But, if you live near one of the worst, it doesn’t mean you need to give up your dreams of affordable international flights. Beneath each of the “worst” airports, we list examples of the types of deals you’ll see from your airport—and give you tips on how you can score even more cheap international flights without moving to a new city.

The Best US Airports for Cheap International Flights

The best airports for cheap international flights are airports you might expect; they’re among the busiest airports in big cities located on both coasts plus one in the Midwest and one in the South. While that’s great news if you live in one of the areas, it also means that no matter where you are in the US, you’re likely only a short flight away from one of these airports where deals are the most frequent.

How frequent? Our top airport received 475 international deals in the last year—more than one deal per day on average—and others in the top ten received more than 24 deals per month on average.

Here are the top ten airports in the US for scoring cheap international flights in economy class.

10. Philadelphia (PHL)


Philadelphia’s airport is the largest in the state of Pennsylvania. It’s the fifth-largest hub for American Airlines and a focus city for Frontier (and while we don’t send deals to our members on Frontier, its presence helps drive down fares). It’s served by 25 airlines flying to more than 140 destinations in 38 countries on direct flights—mostly in Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. While it doesn’t have the breadth of options that other American hubs (like DFW, ORD, or LAX) have, when other airlines compete against American, it can help drive prices down and keep deals popping up. In the last 12 months, we found 289 such economy class deals, an average of five per week.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Philadelphia:

  • Philadelphia to Sydney for $816 roundtrip
  • Philadelphia to Dublin for $492 roundtrip
  • Philadelphia to Costa Rica for $311 roundtrip

9. Atlanta (ATL)


Atlanta gets a bad rap when it comes to cheap flights, thanks in part to Delta’s monopoly over the airport. As the world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic, you might expect it to rank a lot higher on this list, but with Delta controlling 72% of all flights in and out of the airport, there’s not as much competition to drive down prices.

Still, we found our members 299 international economy class deals in the last year—24 per month on average. In addition to Delta, ATL is served by 21 other airlines offering direct flights to 48 destinations, and it’s a focus city for Southwest, Frontier, and Spirit.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Atlanta:

  • Atlanta to Guatemala City for $264 roundtrip
  • Atlanta to Santiago for $547 roundtrip
  • Atlanta to Paris for $543 roundtrip

8. Miami (MIA)


Miami is the 10th-busiest airport in the US by number of flights—and one of the busiest by international passenger traffic. It’s served by 46 airlines and is a hub for American Airlines and a focus city for Avianca, Frontier, Spirit, and LATAM, which makes it a great city for scoring deals to the Caribbean and Latin America.

The airport offers direct flights to more than 100 international destinations in 60+ countries, including cities in Europe and the Middle East; connections to other major hubs make it easy to travel to destinations in Asia, Africa, and Oceania. In the last year, we sent our members 375 economy class international deals from Miami, which averages out to about 31 per month.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Miami:

  • Miami to Barcelona for $393 roundtrip
  • Miami to Lima for $315 roundtrip
  • Miami to Oslo for $385 roundtrip

7. San Francisco (SFO)

San Francisco

We see an average of 31 economy class international deals per month from SFO, thanks to a plethora of routes and airlines serving more than 50 destinations in Canada, Mexico, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Oceania.

SFO is the second busiest airport in California, the seventh-busiest airport in the US, and the fifth-largest hub for United Airlines. It’s also served by another 45+ airlines, which helps keep prices down.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from San Francisco:

  • San Francisco to Paris for $405 roundtrip
  • San Francisco to Aruba for $362 roundtrip
  • San Francisco to Mexico City for $275 roundtrip

6. Boston (BOS)


The largest airport in New England and the 16th-busiest airport in the US by number of flights, Boston Logan is a Transatlantic hub for Delta and focus city for JetBlue and is served by an additional 40 airlines.

There are direct routes to more than 50 international destinations in the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Mexico, Canada, and Central and South America. Basically you can get just about anywhere in the world from Boston, and more options translates to more deals.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Boston:

  • Boston to Iceland for $100 roundtrip
  • Boston to Madrid for $465 roundtrip
  • Boston to Panama for $276 roundtrip

5. Los Angeles (LAX)


LAX holds a lot of superlative titles. It’s the largest and busiest airport on the West Coast, the second-busiest airport in the US, and one of the busiest airports in the world. It’s also a hub or focus city for more airlines than any other airport in the US; it’s a hub for Alaska, American, Delta, and United, and a focus city for Allegiant, JetBlue, and Southwest.

More than 60 international airlines serve the airport, with direct flights to more than 90 destinations in 46 countries. All those flights mean more chances for deals, so it’s not surprising that, on average, we see 34 international economy class deals per month out of LAX.  

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Los Angeles:

  • LA to Puerto Vallarta for $220 roundtrip
  • LA to Oslo for $449 roundtrip
  • LA to Guyana for $432 roundtrip

4. Newark (EWR)


A major hub for United, Newark is served by more than 50 airlines with direct flights to more than 70 international destinations in Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. If you can’t get to place on a cheap flight from Newark, you probably can’t get there on a cheap flight from anywhere. All those options for airlines and routes means increased competition and more chances for cheap flights.

Actual deals we've flagged for Go members from Newark:

  • Valencia for $444 roundtrip
  • Dominican Republic for $308 roundtrip
  • Morocco for $444 roundtrip

3. Chicago O’Hare (ORD)


Chicago’s O’Hare airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. It’s a hub for both United and American and a focus city for Spirit Airlines (the presence of Spirit helps increase competition, but Going doesn’t send deals on that airline, for a number of reasons).

O’Hare offers nonstop service to more than 50 international destinations on more than 45 airlines. The abundance of international airlines and routes means pretty healthy competition, and the frequency of flights to the rest of the US means that if you can’t fly direct to a major destination from Chicago, chances are you can get there with one connection—and both of those things mean lots of deals for travelers.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Chicago:

  • Barcelona for $389 roundtrip
  • Medellin for $352 roundtrip
  • New Zealand for $892 roundtrip

2. Washington Dulles (IAD)

Dulles serves the greater Baltimore and Washington, DC area and has the most international passenger traffic of any airport in the Mid-Atlantic region outside of New York. It offers direct flights to 53 international destinations on five continents, serving Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

It’s a hub for United Airlines, but it’s also served by more than 30 international airlines, and that competition helps ensure frequent economy class international deals—about 36 per month, on average.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Dulles:

  • Buenos Aires for $517 roundtrip
  • Warsaw for $512 roundtrip
  • Quito for $372 roundtrip

1. New York (JFK)


Coming in as the best airport for international deals, JFK is a hub for both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines and the home base for JetBlue, but it also serves a whole lot of other international airlines—more than 70, in fact. Those airlines collectively serve more than 110 international destinations on six continents, making JFK the busiest international air passenger gateway into North America. It’s also the 13th-busiest airport in the US by number of flights. In short, there are a ton of planes traveling between JFK and the rest of the world every day, and all those routes and airlines mean—yep, you guessed it—a whole lot more deals.

We send more deals for international economy class flights from JFK than any other airport—nearly 10% more than we send to the number two airport on this list. That means if you live near JFK, or get there by plane, train, bus, or car relatively cheaply, you can take advantage of some amazing flight deals.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from NYC:

  • Milan for $360 roundtrip
  • Jamaica for $282 roundtrip
  • Copenhagen for $325 roundtrip

It’s important to note, though, that airports outside the top ten still receive many, many deals.

LaGuardia (LGA), Seattle (SEA), Denver (DEN), Baltimore (BWI), San Jose (SJC), Houston (IAH), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Las Vegas (LAS), Minneapolis (MSP), Tampa (TPA), Pittsburgh (PIT), Phoenix (PHX), San Diego (SAN), and Portland (PDX) all receive 15-20 international economy class deals in an average month.

Even smaller airports like Charleston (CHS), St. Louis (STL), and Buffalo (BUF) receive an average of 2 international economy class deals per week. Meaning, there’s a whole lot of airports on the list before we get down to the “worst” airports for international deals.

The Worst US Airports for Cheap International Flights

Of course, the smaller the metro area and airport, and the fewer flights and airlines operating from that airport, the fewer chances for deals. Airports like Aspen, Colorado, and Cheyenne, Wyoming, only see about one deal per month, but they also represent very small metro areas so they aren’t on this list.

For this list, we only looked at airports in metro areas with a population of more than 700,000 people. Less populated states in the West, South, and Midwest dominate the list. While passengers can travel internationally from each of these airports with a connection (and many of these airports are labeled as “international airports”) not all of them actually offer direct international flights. The lack of direct flights typically translates to a lack of competition, and thus a lack of deals.

Live near one of the “worst” airports? Don’t despair. Even though these airports see far fewer deals than the top 10 on this list, they still receive an average of 5-8 international economy class deals per month, or at least 1 deal per week.

Even better news: most of them are located within an hour or two of a bigger airport that receives a lot more deals. When you sign up for Going, we’ll tell you if you can expect a high volume of deals for your airport or not, and which nearby airports we recommend you follow for more frequent deals.

10. Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO)


Piedmont Triad International Airport serves central North Carolina, including Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem, and offers nonstop flights to 12 airports in the US: Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), Charlotte (CLT), Detroit (DTW), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Miami (MIA), New York (LGA), Orlando (SFB), Philadelphia (PHL), Tampa (PIE), and Washington, DC (IAD and DCA).

A lack of options translates to a lack of deals, with GSO seeing around eight international economy class deals per month, on average. It’s not all doom and gloom though. The destinations served by nonstop flights from GSO are great hubs for catching sweet international deals; fly to one of those or look for deals out of Charlotte (CLT), a 90-minute drive from Greensboro.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Greensboro:

  • Auckland for $892 roundtrip
  • Cartagena for $318
  • Casablanca for $575 roundtrip

9. Salt Lake City (SLC)


Salt Lake City is a major gateway to the west. It’s a hub for Delta and has nonstop flights to 93 destinations in North America and Europe. It’s only served by 12 airlines though, and only has direct flights to 12 destinations: 4 in Europe, 5 in Mexico, and 3 in Canada. That lack of international options means less competition and fewer international economy class deals—about eight per month, on average.

The good news is that you can get to dozens of spots in the US on a direct flight from SLC, so you can greatly expand your chances of snagging a great deal by watching fares out of cities like Phoenix, Denver, and Las Vegas.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Salt Lake City:

  • Calgary for $288 roundtrip
  • Amsterdam for $545 roundtrip
  • Bahamas for $377 roundtrip

8. Fresno (FAT)


Fresno airport is the main gateway to the  San Joaquin Valley and Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. It offers nonstop flights to 14 destinations, but only three international spots (all in Mexico). With only eight airlines serving the airport, it just doesn’t have much competition, so deals are less frequent; we send our members about seven international economy class deals from Fresno each month, on average.

Bay Area airports including San Jose and San Francisco are about three hours by car; another option is to watch flights from Vegas, LA, or Phoenix, all nonstop destinations from Fresno.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Fresno:

  • Helsinki for $389 roundtrip
  • Mexico City for $322 roundtrip
  • Athens for $367 roundtrip

7. Columbia (CAE)


Columbia is the main gateway to the Midlands region of South Carolina but its services are quite limited. It’s only served by three airlines—American, Delta, and United—with service to seven US cities (plus Miami seasonally). It doesn’t offer any nonstop flights to destinations outside the US, so any international flight will require at least one stop.

An easy solution for more deals: drive less than two hours north to Charlotte, which sees about double the number of deals. You can also watch for deals from nonstop destinations from Columbia, like Atlanta, New York, Chicago, or DC.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Columbia:

  • Delhi for $688 roundtrip
  • Inverness for $559 roundtrip
  • Tahiti for $879 roundtrip

6. Long Beach (LGB)

Long Beach

Flights from Long Beach Airport fly to 15+ destinations in the US, but it’s only served by five airlines (it’s a hub for JetBlue) and there are no international departures, so the lack of competition and direct routes makes deals rare.

But Long Beach passengers looking for international deals have an easy solution; Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is less than 23 miles away and sees far more deals—about five times the number LGB receives; in fact LAX is number five on our list of best airports for international flight deals.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Long Beach:

  • Luxembourg for $524 roundtrip
  • Tokyo for $677 roundtrip
  • Dublin for $468 roundtrip

5. Oklahoma City (OKC)


OKC serves 30 domestic destinations in all corners of the country on airlines including Southwest, Alaska, Frontier, Allegiant, American, Delta, and United.

While the bad news is that the airport only sees about seven deals per month, from OKC you can connect to larger hubs where deals are more frequent. It’s a three hour drive to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) or a short flight to hubs like Atlanta (ATL) or Chicago (ORD).

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Oklahoma City:

  • Vietnam for $887 roundtrip
  • Florence for $464 roundtrip
  • Belize for $320 roundtrip

4. Sacramento (SMF)


Sacramento is the capital of California, and while it’s considered the gateway to central Northern California, that doesn’t translate into a lot of flight options. Its only direct international flights go to Canada (Vancouver) and Mexico, though it offers direct service to 37 domestic destinations on more than a dozen airlines.

The good news: It’s less than two hours by car to Oakland or San Francisco, which get a lot more deals, or you can hop a quick connection to a larger hub like LA, Denver, Dallas, or Vegas.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Sacramento:

  • Auckland for $892 roundtrip
  • Madrid for $549 roundtrip
  • Veracruz for $269 roundtrip

3. Oakland (OAK)


Oakland is a focus city for JSX and Southwest and is served by a total of 13 airlines, mostly serving the US. Its only nonstop international destinations are in Mexico. As a result, we just don’t see a lot of great international deals from Oakland—we send our members about six per month, on average.

The good news is that SFO is just across the Bay and saw 380 amazing international economy class deals this year, so a great fare is just a quick BART ride away.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Oakland:

  • Milan for $544 roundtrip
  • Cairo for $645 roundtrip
  • Kenya for $628 roundtrip

2. Honolulu (HNL)


Honolulu is the busiest airport in Hawaii and one of the busiest  international airports in the US. It’s the main hub for Hawaiian Airlines and is served by an additional 22 airlines. It offers direct flights to over a dozen international destinations, including spots in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

We often see great deals to Asia and the Pacific from HNL, but deals elsewhere are a bit less common—and with much of Asia closed to Americans for most of the last twelve months, deals to Asia were a bit less frequent this year than in normal years.

In total, over the last year we only saw about five international economy class deals from Honolulu in the average month. For more, watch deals from California airports like San Francisco, LA, San Jose, and San Diego. Each sees a lot more deals, and we frequently see nonstop roundtrips from HNL to those cities for under $200.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Honolulu:

  • Fiji for $629 roundtrip
  • Sydney for $347 roundtrip
  • Rome for $497 roundtrip

1. Panama City (ECP)


Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport is one of the country’s newest commercial airports (it opened in 2010) though it isn’t very “international” at all. The airport is served by only four airlines—American, Southwest, Delta, and United—and offers direct flights to only 12 US destinations: Austin, Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Nashville, Philadelphia, and Washington DC, so any international flight will have at least one connection. On average, it sees about five deals per month.

To find more cheap flights, look at deals from one of the cities connected to Panama City by a short flight, or consider a road trip. Orlando (MCO) and Tampa (TPA) are 5-6 hours away by car, and both airports get fantastic deals.

Actual deals we've flagged for Going members from Panama City:

  • Sydney for $820 roundtrip
  • Barcelona for $451 roundtrip
  • Costa Rica for $368 roundtrip


Using a combination of technology and human-powered flight searching, the Flight Experts at Going look at thousands of possible airfare deals every week. Not all deals meet our standards (for example, flights on certain airlines like Spirit or Frontier, flights with inconvenient layovers, or flights with illogical routing). Still, we send thousands of deals out to US-based members every year.

To reach our conclusions on the best and worst airports, we first determined our list of airports. We only looked at airports that serve metro areas of more than 700,000 people, and the 180+ US airports we serve at Going.

Once we had our list of airports, we tallied up the total number of deal emails we sent to members departing from those airports in the past year. The airports that received the highest number of deals per year were deemed to be the best airports for cheap international flights. And the airports that received the lowest number of deals were deemed to be the worst airports for cheap international flights.

Join Going and save an average of $550 on international economy flights.

Last Updated 
June 2, 2023
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 Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) in a Denver coffee shop. Favorite airport: PDX.

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