I've been driving about two hours away to the Dayton, Columbus, Indianapolis airports for years, because my flights have been at least a hundred dollars cheaper by going elsewhere.
In any case, for those who are wondering, the five biggest rip-off airports in America are:
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (average fare: 48 cents per mile)
- Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan (average fare: 41 cents per mile)
- Tri-Cities Regional Airport, in Johnson City, Tennessee (39 cents per mile)
- Columbia Metropolitan Airport in Columbia, South Carolina (39 cents per mile)
- Duluth International Airport in Duluth, Minnesota (38 cents per mile)
That said, the article, which came out this week, may already be outdated. The Cincinnati airport has long been known in the area for having notorious prices due to being a hub for Delta, which has kept competition away. Perhaps it was just timing, or maybe it shows the power of the press, but just about the time the Forbes article came out, Delta announced that they're slashing fares, depending on the destination, from 5 percent to 60%t.
Wanting more information about air fares, I contacted my travel agent, Indianapolis-based Julie Sturgeon, who I wrote about once in WalletPop, and asked her what tends to drive up the price of flights. Sturgeon, who has a blog and travel agency called Curing Cold Feet, said that much of the problem comes with the contracts that the airports get into with the ground crews, but if someone wanted to really do some digging, they should check out this handy dandy frequently asked question page about air fares put up by the Mobile Regional Airport.
They offer a heap of insight into the problem, but the basic thrust that drives airport fees can be summed up in one word, a word that makes a lot of sense when you think about it: "Competition."