The State of Cheap Flights in 2022

Scott’s Cheap Flights has released its third annual State of Cheap Flights report, a deep-dive analysis into the landscape of air travel right now.

The SOCF is full of fascinating findings but perhaps the most important for budget-conscious travelers is that we remain in the golden age of cheap flights, with economy prices still among the lowest they’ve ever been.


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“In our 2020 report, we declared that we are—and have been for a few years—in a Golden Age of Cheap Flights. For example, in 1948, a roundtrip ticket from NYC to Rome cost $848—the equivalent of about $9,000 today But Scott’s Cheap Flights regularly finds our members flights (on full-service airlines) from NYC to Rome for under $300 roundtrip,” SCF states in the report.

North America ($291), Latin America ($336), Europe ($492) and the Caribbean ($264) each saw the average price of deals found by SCF drop in 2021 compared to 2020. What’s more, SCF found a handful of new record- low roundtrip fares in 2021, including Miami-Amsterdam for as low as $270, Atlanta-Cancun nonstop for $219 and New York City to the Maldives for just $577.

While there are plenty of economy deals to be had in early 2022, the report also points out the recent boom in last-minute flight deals as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on business travel. “In ‘normal’ years, last-minute flights tend to be more expensive—it’s the airlines’ way of price-gouging business travelers that they know will pay more to be flexible. But in 2021, with business travel largely on pause and airlines scrambling to fill planes, we saw a lot more last-minute deals than usual,” the SOCF reads.

The rise in last-minute deals even led SCF to start sending a Weekend Getaways digest of domestic and short-haul international deals for the coming month to its premium and elite members. “Since launching this about halfway through 2021, we’ve already found more than 13,000 last-minute weekend getaway deals.”

American Airlines flight prepares to land at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport
American Airlines flight prepares to land at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport. (photo via Michael Valdez/iStock Unreleased)

The dramatic dropoff in business travel due to the pandemic has also led to a rise in cheaper business and first-class tickets. “We’re talking Chicago to Stockholm nonstop for $604 in premium economy, Boston to Amsterdam for $986 in business class, or Los Angeles to Oaxaca for $486 in business class,” notes SCF, which reports an average savings of $2,000 per international trip in business class.

While the pandemic continues to impact travel, pent-up demand, increased flexibility and plentiful flight deals point to a travel boom on the horizon, according to the SOCF. “There’s so much hope for 2022, with people planning to travel more, spend more, and take longer trips (thanks to remote work for some). People are especially planning to go big on international trips this year.”


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