CVG alternatives: Which airport in OH, IN, or KY has the lowest fares?

Don't Waste Your Money

The Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport has the dubious honor once again of being the most expensive airport in the entire country, according to a new government report.

That's despite a handful of new discount flights.
So we checked to find if and where you can find cheaper ways to fly from the Tri-State to popular destinations.

Discounters Not Having Much Impact

When Allegiant Airlines started up flights from Cincinnati in February 2014, local travelers were thrilled. 

They hoped it would mean they would no longer have to drive to other cities for low fares.

Vacationer Lindsey Newman summed it up to us, saying "Louisville, Lexington, and Indianapolis are much cheaper but we don't want to have to drive an hour and half just to get on a plane, so you have to factor all that in."

So she was excited about Allegiant -- and fellow discounter Frontier --  that now offer flights as low as $189 round-trip from Cincinnati to Florida and Denver.

But the problem is they are to only a few select cities, and (so far) on only a handful of days each week. 

So the U.S. Department of Transportation says they have yet to have much impact on CVG's overall fares, which are now highest in the country again.

For most of us, Cincinnati remains as pricey as ever for flying.

Cheaper Flights to Florida

So will other airports save much money? We found for the most part, the answer is "yes."

We checked on fare compare engine for a late summer round-trip from Cincinnati to Tampa, from Friday, Aug. 15 - Sunday, Aug. 17. It was...

  • $405 from CVG (most expensive)
  • $361 from Dayton
  • $328 from Louisville
  • $319 from Columbus
  • 285 from Indianapolis

Indy was cheapest, and was  $120 less than Cincinnati.

Cheaper Flights to East Coast

(Click the image to enlarge the graphic)

For Cincinnati to New York City's LaGuardia Airport, over Christmas week: Kayak's lowest round-trips from Sunday to Sunday were:

  • $471 from Dayton (most expensive)
  • $467 from CVG
  • $435 from Columbus
  • $425 from Indy
  • $401 from Louisville

Louisville was cheapest, $70 less than Cincinnati.

Run Other Costs Before You Drive

But once we factored in the cost of gas, and the 90-mile drive, the savings shrunk:

Indianapolis to Tampa saved us $85 compared with flying out of CVG. Still worth considering.

But Louisville to New York saved us just $36. Driving two hours, and risking a traffic jam, to save $36 might not be worth it for many time strapped travelers.

One other thing we found:  Dayton now offers very little savings over Cincinnati, a big change from five years ago, where a one hour drive to Dayton could save you $100 or more on a flight.

As always, don't waste your money.


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