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Here Are the Most and Least Expensive Airports in America

dulles airport
Washington Dulles | Shutterstock/Joe Favi
Washington Dulles | Shutterstock/Joe Favi

Flying can get very expensive, very fast, and long before you decide to treat yourself to a wildly overpriced Cinnabon near your gate before take-off. But $12 breakfast pastries aside, not all airports are created equal in terms of the damage they'll inflict upon your wallet. In fact, between the cost of transportation, parking, food, and other amenities, some American airports are simply much pricier to fly in and out of than others.

So, next time you're booking a vacation on a tight budget, here's a helpful list of the country's most and least expensive airports. 

A new report by the folks at Reward Expert found that the the most expensive airport in the country is Newark's Liberty Airport, followed by New York's JFK, Washington Dulles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and LAX. Newark's average domestic fare of about $429 pushed the East Coast hub to the top of the list, along with its high food prices (the highest in the country) and its lack of free wi-fi, according to the research. Alternately, the cheapest place to fly in and out of is Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood, with Las Vegas' McCarren, Orlando, Phoenix Sky Harbor, and Tampa rounding out the top five most affordable.

To determine the ranking, researchers evaluated the 45 busiest air travel hubs in the US using 10 key indicators across four different categories: transportation to and from the airport, plane ticket prices, food, and amenities (wi-fi, cost of luggage trolleys, etc.). Here's how the full lineup looks, from least to most expensive:

45. Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
44. Las Vegas (LAS)
43. Orlando (MCO)
42. Phoenix (PHX)
41. Tampa (TPA)
40. San Jose (SJC)
39. Denver (DEN)
38. Oakland (OAK)
37. Portland, Oregon (PDX)
36. New Orleans (MSY)
35. Dallas-Love Field (DAL)
34. Atlanta (ATL)
33. Boston (BOS)
32. Chicago-Midway (MDW)
31. Houston-Hobby (HOU)
30. Seattle (SEA)
29. Washington-Reagan (DCA)
28. San Diego (SAN)
27. Salt Lake City (SLC)
26. Cleveland (CLE)
25. Nashville (BNA)
24. Dallas-DFW (DFW)
23. Indianapolis (IND)
22. Santa Ana (SNA)
21. Miami (MIA)
20. Baltimore (BWI)
19. Sacramento (SMF)
18. Philadelphia (PHL)
17. Kansas City (MCI)
16. Chicago-O'Hare (ORD)
15. Pittsburgh (PIT)
14. Raleigh/Durham (RDU)
13. Honolulu (HNL)
12. San Francisco (SFO)
11. Detroit (DTW)
10. New York-La Guardia (LGA)
9. Austin (AUS)
8. Houston-Intercontinental (IAH)
7. St. Louis (STL)
6. Charlotte (CLT)
5. Los Angeles (LAX)
4. Minneapolis (MSP)
3. Washington-Dulles (IAD)
2. New York-JFK (JFK)
1. Newark (EWR)

While the above list reflects each airport's overall ranking, things shake out a bit differently when you filter by individual factors. For instance, when it comes specifically to transportation costs, LAX ends up as most expensive, followed by San Francisco and Denver. Similarly, you'll find the most expensive food in Charlotte, and the most expensive amenities in St. Louis. As for which airport consistently has the highest average prices for domestic fares, Washington-Dulles takes the top spot.

h/tTravel & Leisure

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.