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Cheapest Airports for Flying to America

Author: Andrew Smith

During 2014, nearly 14 million travelers from Europe visited the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Travel & Tourism Industries. One way to save money on your trip is to be a bit flexible in deciding which airport to use. In many cases – if you have some flexibility in your itinerary – you can pay less by flying into a different airport within the same general region.

Here, we compare routes from London and Paris to 18 airports across the U.S. – in the Northeast, Southeast and West/Southwest regions – to find the best fares. To give us the best chance for lower prices, we chose midweek dates, at least two weeks from when they were booked, from April 22 to April 29, 2015 (not in the peak summer season or during the Easter or Passover holidays).

Northeast

Some of the most visited tourist attractions in the Northeast include Times Square, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History (all in New York City); Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston and the Cape Cod National Seashore in Mass.; and the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C.

To compare fares for visitors interested in these and other nearby attractions, we searched Google Flights for roundtrip flights out of two of Europe's busiest airports – London Heathrow (LHR) and Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) – into six international airports in the Northeast region:

  • BOS – Logan International

  • BWI – Baltimore/Washington International

  • EWR – Newark Liberty International

  • JFK – John F. Kennedy International

  • ORD – O'Hare International

  • PHL – Philadelphia International

Rates are for the same mid-week dates, at least two weeks out. Here's what we found:

From

To

BEST FARE

From

To

BEST FARE

LHR

BOS

$734

CDG

BOS

$651

LHR

BWI

$1,048

CDG

BWI

$812

LHR

EWR

$699

CDG

EWR

$626

LHR

JFK

$646

CDG

JFK

$632

LHR

ORD

$995

CDG

ORD

$744

LHR

PHL

$674

CDG

PHL

$563

The winners? Out of London, the cheapest fares were into New York (JFK), Philadelphia, and Newark. From Paris, the results were similar: the best fare was into Philadelphia (by nearly $100), followed by Newark and New York (JFK).

Southeast

Tourists visiting the Southeast might be headed to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Fla.; Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles N.C. and Tenn., and is one of the most visited national parks in the U.S.; and Rainbow Row, Market Street and the sunny beaches of Charleston, S.C.

For this region, we searched Google Flights (with the same mid-week dates, at least two weeks out) for roundtrip flights out of London and Paris, into six international airports in the Southeast:

  • ATL – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International

  • CLT – Charlotte Douglas International

  • JAX – Jacksonville International

  • MCO – Orlando International

  • MIA – Miami International

  • RDU – Raleigh-Durham International

Here's what a search on Google Flights showed:

From

To

BEST FARE

From

To

BEST FARE

LHR

ATL

$674

CDG

ATL

$899

LHR

CLT

$878

CDG

CLT

$751

LHR

JAX

$796

CDG

JAX

$772

LHR

MCO

$651

CDG

MCO

$715

LHR

MIA

$919

CDG

MIA

$850

LHR

RDU

$886

CDG

RDU

$882

In both cases – for flights originating in either London or Paris – the best fares were into Florida's Orlando International Airport. Other good fares from London included flights into Atlanta and Jacksonville; from Paris, the best fares after Orlando were into Charlotte and Jacksonville.

West/Southwest

Some of the most popular tourist attractions in the Western and Southwestern regions of the U.S. include the Las Vegas Strip in Nev.; the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif.; Fisherman's Wharf/Golden Gate Area, in San Francisco; and Universal Studios in Los Angeles – plus numerous parks including the Grand Canyon (Ariz.), Yosemite (Calif.) and the Redwood National Forest (Calif.).

We searched Google Flights (again, with the same mid-week dates, at least two weeks out) for roundtrip tickets out of London and Paris, into six international airports in the West/Southwest region:

  • DEN – Denver International

  • DFW – Dallas/Fort Worth International

  • LAS – Las Vegas McCarran International

  • LAX – Los Angeles International

  • PHX – Phoenix Sky Harbor International

  • SFO – San Francisco International

Here's what we found:

From

To

BEST FARE

From

To

BEST FARE

LHR

DEN

$933

CDG

DEN

$806

LHR

DFW

$878

CDG

DFW

$828

LHR

LAS

$1,026

CDG

LAS

$866

LHR

LAX

$892

CDG

LAX

$849

LHR

PHX

$1,090

CDG

PHX

$744

LHR

SFO

$1,000

CDG

SFO

$742

Out of London, the best fares were into Dallas, Los Angeles and Denver. From Paris, the cheapest flights were into San Francisco (by just a couple of dollars), Phoenix and Denver.

The Bottom Line

The U.S. is a large, diverse country with lots to see and do – whether you're interested in cities and museums; outdoor activities like hiking, rafting and surfing; natural and human history; or simply relaxing on the beach. Deciding where to fly into the U.S. can be a challenge, and one factor to take into consideration is price. If you compare fares into various airports in a particular region, you may be able to save money on your flight. Flying from Paris to Philadelphia, for example, is about $100 cheaper than flying into NYC – and it's less than two hours away from NYC by car (or about an hour and 20 minutes by train) – so you can still visit the sights in the Big Apple, and maybe some other attractions along the way.

Airfares fluctuate throughout the year, largely as a function of supply and demand. If you travel during peak periods, airfare generally costs more. During the low season, you may be able to find better deals. And, if you can travel mid-week – instead of the weekends – during any time of the year, you'll likely save money. Fuel prices also affect airfares, and it's possible to see changes – either up or down – depending on current and anticipated fuel costs. For more, see Best Ways To Purchase Cheap Airline Tickets and Top Cheap Travel Websites.

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