There’s a trend of airlines choosing smaller airports for better service and lower prices, but travelers often have to make sacrifices. Here are the best US small airports to fly into where you’ll find low fares and good customer reviews with major international flights nearby

The “best small airports for private pilots” is a question that has been asked before. The answer to this question is not easy, but we have compiled a list of the best US small airports to fly into.

It may ruin travel plans to start a holiday or trip late or to miss a connecting flight because of one. This may be particularly annoying when arriving at tiny airports with few alternatives.

In order to determine which airports provide the most convenient arrival experience, the most recent ValuePenguin research examines minor airports (those outside the top 50 by the number of planes arriving).

The incidence of flights arriving at least 60 minutes late, the number of cancellations, and average costs were just a few of the measures researchers analyzed to identify the best tiny airports to fly into.

To find out more about the top tiny airports in the US, keep reading.

Source of the image: DepositPhotos.com.

The worst little airport for flying into ranks third to last in every criterion

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Aspen/Pitkin County Airport in Colorado is the worst tiny airport to fly into if you detest hectic travel days.

Unfortunately, this airport does poorly in every parameter looked at, which is bad news for passengers that reside nearby. This covers the worst-case scenarios of 3.5 percent of arrivals being canceled and a $607 average ticket.

Each of the lowest 10 airports is in the South, with the exception of Durango-La Plata County Airport, which is located in Colorado. While large snowstorms may not occur in the South, hurricanes may cause weather-related flight delays and cancellations at these airports.

According to a 2021 ValuePenguin analysis, Texas endures the greatest damage each storm on average and has four airports in the bottom 10 of our most recent ranking. It is understandable that poor weather would cause delays and cancellations at Southern airports.

Consider crossing these probable minor airports off your list if you want to prevent flight disruptions and cancellations. Don’t forget to check what kind of delay or cancellation coverage you have from travel insurance if you make your reservation at one of these airports.

Nicoletaionescu of istockphoto provided the image.

Hawaii has the greatest little airports for flying into.

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If you’re traveling to Hawaii, you’re in luck. You’re ready to experience paradise, but when it comes to tiny airports, Hawaii airports are your best choice for a trouble-free travel.

In the United States, Lihue, Kahului, and Kailua-Kona have the greatest little airports for flying into. Out of the 100 tiny airports this research looked at, the three had the lowest incidence of substantial arrival delays (60 minutes or more). Among the 100 airports, Kailua-Kona and Kahului had the lowest cancellation rates. (Even though Lihue’s airport is ranked third overall, its cancellation rate of 1.4 percent is fairly high and places it in the 40th position overall among the airports looked at.)

The airport in Kailua-Kona performs so well overall that even in its lowest category, average airfares at $265, it is ranked sixth. The Kahului airport is not far away; although having the lowest average airfare in the country ($274), it is nevertheless ranked 11th overall.

The three airports in Hawaii, however tiny in comparison to other airports, had at least 11,000 arrivals in the 12 months analyzed from December 2020 to November 2021. As a result, you’ll have plenty of flight alternatives for your tropical vacation.

Hawaii mainly depends on tourism for income, therefore this may encourage airports to keep travelers satisfied and operations efficient. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, there were an average of 249,000 visitors per day on the Hawaiian islands in 2019 – before the COVID-19 epidemic interrupted routine travel. And the average daily spending of these tourists in the state was $48.6 million.

Furthermore, it is not surprising that fewer flights are delayed at these airports given the generally favorable weather in Hawaii. Small airports in other sunny states like California and Florida, including Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport in Florida and Long Beach Airport in California, rank seventh and ninth respectively in terms of customer satisfaction.

Picture Source: Poike.

Fresno Yosemite International Airport is number 25.

fresnoairport

  • California’s Fresno, the city
  • Retention rate: 16.9%
  • Rate of major delays: 4.7 percent
  • Average delay: 12.55 minutes
  • 1.1% of reservations are cancelled.
  • $337 is the average fare.

Instagram user iflyfresno provided the photo.

Eppley Airfield 24

eppleyairport

  • Omaha, Nebraska is the city.
  • Retention rate: 17.9%
  • Rate of major delays: 3.7 percent
  • The average delay was 11.32 minutes.
  • 1.5% of reservations are cancelled.
  • Typical airfare: $336

Instagram/omaairport, source of the image.

Airport of Myrtle Beach International 23

mrytlebeachairport

  • City: South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach
  • Retention rate: 17.4%
  • Rate of major delays: 4.5 percent
  • Average delay: 12.33 minutes
  • Rate of cancellation: 2.0%
  • $201 is the average airfare.

Sk5893/Wiki Commons is the source of the image.

22. Missoula Airport in Montana

missolua

  • City: Montana’s Missoula
  • Retention rate: 17.4%
  • 3.6% of delays were major.
  • The average delay was 11.13 minutes.
  • Rate of cancellation: 0.8%
  • $362 is the average airfare.

Source of the image: flymissoula.com.

21. International Airport of Des Moines

desmoines

  • Iowan city of Des Moines
  • Retention rate: 16.6%
  • Rate of major delays: 4.1 percent
  • The average delay was 11.21 minutes.
  • 1.5% of reservations are cancelled.
  • Average cost of travel: $331

DSM International Airport/Facebook, source of image.

20. International Airport of Savannah/Hilton Head

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  • Savannah, Georgia, is the city.
  • Retention rate: 18.2%
  • Rate of major delays: 4.5 percent
  • Average delay: 12.38 minutes
  • 1.4% of reservations are cancelled.
  • $289 is the average airfare.

Source of the image: savhhiairport on Instagram.

19. International Airport of Jacksonville

jacksonville

  • Jacksonville, Florida, is the city.
  • Retention rate: 18.6%
  • 4.2% of delays were major.
  • Average delay: 11.80 minutes
  • 1.3% of reservations are cancelled.
  • $320 is the typical airfare.

courtesy of flyjax.com

Lehigh Valley International Airport (18).

leighigh

  • City: Pennsylvania’s Allentown
  • Retention rate: 16.2%
  • 4.2% of delays were major.
  • Minutes of average delay: 12.52
  • Rate of cancellation: 1.9%
  • $265 is the average airfare.

Photograph courtesy of flyabe /Instagram.

Key West International Airport, number 17.

keywest

  • Florida’s Key West, the city
  • Retention rate: 18.8%
  • Major delay percentage: 3.4%
  • The average delay was 11.56 minutes.
  • 1.4% of reservations are cancelled.
  • $320 is the typical airfare.

Photo courtesy of eyw.com.

Tri-Cities Airport 16.

tricities

  • Tri-Cities Airport, airport
  • Washington’s Pasco, the city
  • Retention rate: 11.2%
  • Major delay percentage: 2.6%
  • Average delay (9.22 minutes)
  • Rate of cancellation: 0.9%
  • $374 is the average airfare.

Tri-Cities Airport – PSC / Facebook, source of image.

15. Rogue Valley International Airport in Medford

rogue

  • Mediford, Oregon
  • Retention rate: 15.9%
  • Major delay percentage: 3.3%
  • Minutes of average delay: 9.91
  • Rate of cancellation: 0.9%
  • Average cost of travel: $355

Flymfr/Instagram is credit for the image.

Charleston AFB and Charleston International Airport, 14.

charleston

  • Charleston, South Carolina, is the place.
  • Retention rate: 18.7%
  • 4.2% of delays were major.
  • Average delay: 11.75 minutes
  • 1.3% of reservations are cancelled.
  • average cost of travel: $293

Instagram user iflychs provided the photo.

Airport International de Palm Beach 13.

palmbeach

  • West Palm Beach, Florida, as a city
  • Retention rate: 18.1%
  • 4.0% of delays were major.
  • The average delay was 11.87 minutes.
  • 1.3% of reservations are cancelled.
  • $304 is the typical airfare.

flypbi/Instagram is credit for the image.

Ontario International Airport No. 12

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  • City: Ontario, California
  • Retention rate: 18.2%
  • 4.2% of delays were major.
  • The average delay was 11.87 minutes.
  • 1.2% of reservations are cancelled.
  • Average flight price: $308

Ontario International Airport/Facebook, source of image.

Eleven. Eugene Airport (Mahlon Sweet Field)

eugene

  • Metropolis: Eugene, Oregon
  • Retention rate: 14.4%
  • Major delay percentage: 3.4%
  • The average delay was 10.56 minutes.
  • 1.0% of reservations are cancelled.
  • Average cost of travel: $346

Flyeug/Instagram is the source of the image.

10. International Airport of Sarasota-Bradenton

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  • Florida’s Sarasota/Bradenton is the city.
  • Retention rate: 19.0%
  • Major delay percentage: 3.8%
  • The average delay was 11.40 minutes.
  • 1.4% of reservations are cancelled.
  • Average cost of travel: $271

Roman Tiraspolsky of iStock provided the photo.

9. The International Airport of Palm Springs

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  • City: California’s Palm Springs
  • Retention rate: 14.3%
  • Major delay percentage: 2.9%
  • Average delay: 8.69 minutes
  • 1.4% of reservations are cancelled.
  • $333 is the average fare.

Photograph courtesy of palmspringsairport.com.

8. International Airport in Glacier Park

glaier

  • Kalispell, Montana, is the city.
  • Retention rate: 16.0%
  • Major delay percentage: 2.4%
  • Average delay: 8.82 minutes
  • 0.6% of reservations are cancelled.
  • Average cost of travel: $346

Ifly Glacier is the source of the image.

Long Beach Airport No. 7 (Daugherty Field)

longbeach

  • City: California’s Long Beach
  • Retention rate: 14.2%
  • Major delay percentage: 2.4%
  • Average delay: 7.99 minutes
  • 1.6% of reservations are cancelled.
  • Average cost of travel: $273

Longbeach.gov, source of the image.

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, No. 6

bozeman

  • City: Montana’s Bozeman
  • Retention rate: 16.0%
  • 3.0% is the major delay percentage.
  • average delay (9.74 minutes)
  • 1.2% of reservations are cancelled.
  • $302 is the typical airfare.

Source of the image: bozemanairport.com.

Spokane International Airport, number five (Geiger Field)

spokane

  • Washington’s Spokane, the city
  • Retention rate: 14.9%
  • Major delay percentage: 2.7%
  • Average delay: 8.63 minutes
  • 1.0% of reservations are cancelled.
  • $318 is the average airfare.

flygeg/Instagram is credit for the image.

4. Boise Air Terminal at the airport (Gowen Field)

boise

  • City: Idaho’s Boise
  • Retention rate: 14.8%
  • Major delay percentage: 3.1%
  • Average delay, 9.49 minutes.
  • Rate of cancellation: 0.9%
  • average cost of travel: $293

Airport in Boise/Facebook, source of image.

Lihue Airport 3.

lihue

  • Hawaiian city of Lihue
  • Retention rate: 9.6%
  • 1.4% of delays were major.
  • Average delay: 5.77 minutes
  • 1.4% of reservations are cancelled.
  • average cost of travel: $261

Source of the image: airports.hawaii.gov.

Kahului Airport, 2.

kahului_alcp9RY

  • Hawaiian city of Kahului
  • Rate of delays: 13.9 percent
  • Rate of major delays: 2.1 percent
  • Average delay, 8.29 minutes.
  • 0.5% of reservations are cancelled.
  • $274 is the average airfare.

Photograph courtesy of http://airports.hawaii.gov.

Ellison Onizuka, first Keahole’s Kona International Airport

koahawaii

  • City: Hawaii’s Kailua-Kona
  • Retention rate: 10.7%
  • 1.6% of delays were major.
  • Average delay: 5.99 minutes
  • 0.5% of reservations are cancelled.
  • $265 is the average airfare.

Photograph courtesy of http://airports.hawaii.gov.

When fares are low, are lengthy waits acceptable?

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Travel costs money. Many Americans are looking for great prices, but are they really worth the inconvenience of delayed flights?

Florida’s St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport may serve as an example of how some passengers are ready to forsake comfort in order to save money. At 8.6%, this airport has the greatest rate of severe arrival delays, although its standard cost is just $122.

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport scores poorly overall in the following areas:

  • 100th major delay rate
  • Rate of delay: 100th
  • Typical delay: 99th
  • Rate of cancellation: 84th

Travelers must choose if this compromise is worthwhile given the cost savings. The Sunshine State is no stranger to storms, therefore they are likely at play here as well.

When flying through airports with a history of delays, passengers are advised to temper their expectations by ValuePenguin credit card and travel rewards writer Sophia Mendel.

You should keep in mind that you get what you pay for if you select an airport with a history of lengthy flight delays but cheaper airfares, advises Mendel. You must plan additional time for delays that are unavoidable and avoid selecting a connection with an excessively short turnaround time.

“Paying the least ticket may be worthwhile if you’re not in a rush or don’t mind delays. However, you may want to spend extra for a more dependable airport if you’d want to be certain you’ll get at your destination on time.

Source of the image: DepositPhotos.com.

How these little airports stack up against the largest

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Larger airports may be a better option if you want to avoid travel delays since they’re often more dependable than smaller airports.

Compared to 4.6 percent at the next 100 biggest airports, just 4.0 percent of flights at the top 50 airports (by arrivals) have delays of at least one hour.

The 50 busiest airports had less frequent delays and average flight costs of $307.20 compared to $348.20 at the following 100 busiest airports.

With the exception of the cancellation rate, which tied at 1.6 percent across all of the aforementioned categories, bigger airports outperformed smaller ones.

Mendel discusses why there could be less delays at bigger airports.

Large airports are often found in or close to large cities, which may have a lower risk for severe weather or natural catastrophes, according to Mendel. “Larger airports also often have more accessible runway space, which results in more flights and more staff on hand in case of crew or pilot problems.

“You’re more likely to encounter a delay at the Aspen airport, which has a lesser capacity for flights and is more susceptible to bad weather, than you would at the Denver airport in a major metropolis four hours away.”

Joe Potato provided the photo.

How to choose the ideal tiny airport for your next trip

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Mendel offers the following advice to help you make the most of your vacation if you’re thinking of flying into or out of a tiny airport on your next trip:

  • Elect for direct flight. Try to fly directly while landing at a tiny airport. You won’t run the danger of missing a layover flight if there is a delay in this manner. You put yourself in the greatest position to avoid travel delays by selecting a direct trip. In the absence of a direct flight, choose a route with a longer stopover to compensate for potential delays.
  • Examine the punctuality stats for the airport. You may use the U.S. Bureau of Transportation’s flight number search to get on-time data. Investigate the airport you are considering to determine whether they have a good track record of timely departures.
  • Keep an eye on the weather. While it is difficult to influence the weather, you may use trends and situations to inform rational judgments. For instance, flights via the Midwest or Northeast in January are more likely to face weather-related delays than flights through the South are.
  • Select a small airport that is simple to reach. Think about how difficult and expensive it is to go to your airport. A bigger airport that will be simpler and less costly to reach may be preferable if your favorite little airport is too far away.
  • Make sure there are backup flight routes available for your tiny airport. Make sure that if you travel into a tiny airport there are alternative flight choices to your destination in case of a delay. At the absolute least, confirm that it has a good lounge to which you can get access with your travel credit card so you may be more at ease during lengthy delays.

Source of the image: DepositPhotos.com.

Methodology

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Researchers from ValuePenguin examined flight arrival data from the 50th to 150th busiest airports in the United States based on the number of total incoming aircraft. Researchers assessed the airports based on five parameters to determine their rankings:

  1. Rate of arrival delays (percentage of flights delayed by at least 15 minutes)
  2. Rate of major delays in arrival (percentage of flights delayed by at least 60 minutes)
  3. average delay in arrival (total minutes delayed divided by total flights)
  4. cancellation rate at the location of arrival (percentage of flights canceled)
  5. Average airfare (based on domestic itinerary prices; round-trip tickets are included in inflation-adjusted rates unless the consumer opts not to book a return flight)

Each airport was evaluated according to each criteria by researchers, and each was then given a score based on its average rating. Average airfare was given a double weighting, whereas significant delay rate, cancellation rate, delay rate, and average delay were all given equal weightings.

The period covered by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics runs from December 2020 to November 2021.

Related: 

This article originally appeared on ValuePenguin.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org

Meinzahn/iStock is the source of the image.

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mizoula provided the photo.

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