How to use alternate airports to save

Alternate airports can be cheaper and easier to get to

Looking for a cheaper getaway? Try searching for flights to or from alternate airports, smaller airports that may be only minutes away from larger, more well-known airports.

The savings from traveling a little further to another airport can outweigh the cost and effort of getting there. Plus, alternate airports may have shorter TSA lines among other perks.

In the time it can take to get through the TSA line at some of the country’s busiest airports, travelers can be gate-side at an alternative airport. Check out our tips and lists for booking flights to or from alternate airports, and then start your flight search on

Travel tips for using alternate airports

  • Southwest often flies to nearby airports (Providence near Boston and Long Beach near Los Angeles)
  • Smaller airports often have lower fees, which airlines pass onto you, the consumer.
  • In peak season or for big events, search for deals to nearby airports for huge savings.
  • Smaller airports can be quicker to get in and out of, from parking to security to luggage pick-up
  • Alternate airports may be more convenient for where you are traveling to, offering non-stop flights or better departure or arrival times.
  • With fewer passengers, alternate airports may be easier to navigate with kids in tow.
  • If you’re traveling as a family or larger group, the savings of traveling to or from an alternate airport can really add up.
  • Choosing an alternate airport may mean swapping a connecting flight for a short drive and non-stop flight, which lessens the chances of travel delays.
  • When booking award travel, it may be easier to get seats on flights headed to alternate airports than the busier hub airports.
  • Fewer passengers often means shorter TSA lines. Need we say more?
Search for flights

Use this chart to find the distance (in miles) from a city’s main airport to nearby alternate airports.

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Feature image by @anniespratt via

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