Is it cheaper to fly out of a U.S. airport?

In some cases, if you don’t mind red-eyes!

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by

From the January 2015 issue of the magazine.

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(Getty Images / kevinjeon00)

(Getty Images / kevinjeon00)

If you’re booking a sunspot holiday this winter, you’ll notice that the flights are getting pricey. Back when the Canadian dollar was worth more, you could cut costs by driving over the border and flying out of a nearby U.S. airport. But is that still true, given the loonie’s recent decline? We crunched the numbers to find out.

Destination: Fort Lauderdale

Cost of departing from Toronto vs. departing from Buffalo, N.Y.

A week-long trip for a family of four leaving in early January would cost CDN$1,900 through a Canadian airline departing from Toronto’s Pearson Airport. From Buffalo the same vacation flights will cost $2,022, so no savings there. Still, if you’re willing to fly out at off-peak hours you can find U.S. deals. For instance, a family of four can fly for $810 on a non-stop flight from Spirit Airlines—saving about $1,100. The catch? Departure time is 2 a.m., with the return flight leaving at 10:15 pm.

Destination: Las Vegas

Cost of departing from Vancouver vs. departing from Seattle, Wash.

From Vancouver, a flight to Las Vegas would cost a family of four $1,700, and arrival and departure times work well with kids’ sleep schedules. But you won’t save money by departing from Seattle. Using Priceline.com or Kayak.com, this round-trip vacation costs $2,022—or $322 more. Still, if you opt for flights with late-night travel times, you can shave as much as $790 off the total price.

The verdict:

You can still save by departing from the U.S.—but only if you don’t mind red-eyes!

 

6 comments on “Is it cheaper to fly out of a U.S. airport?

  1. You can fly from Bellingham, WA to Las Vegas starting at $53/seat in Allegiant. I picked two adults, two children, reserved seats, two suitcases and the total was $612.

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  2. If you want a cheap flight from Vancouver to Vegas, you would fly Allegiant Air from Bellingham. Bellingham is 20 mins over the border…much closer than Seattle. A family of four would cost ~$700 US return (+ seat selection) with great morning/mid-day flight times. Also, a quick check shows 4 tickets return from Seattle to Vegas on JetBlue is ~1000 US. Hmmm. Our family of 4 from Victoria recently flew from Seattle to Los Angeles (Longbeach Airport near Disney) for $680 US return – all in – on JetBlue, Westjet was $2250 CAD from YYJ to SNA (Orange County), so it was more than worth the $200 in ferries and $99 weekly parking fee – flight times were good so that we didn’t have to spend night – plus we stocked up on cheap dairy on the way back :)

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  3. The example of flying from SEA to LAS instead of YVR is not representative of the most common alternative. Most people will fly out of BLI on Allegiant which is also 2 hours closer than SEA.

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  4. There are still deals to be had. Flying out of buffalo on southwest saved us a few hundred dollars compared to yyz.

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  5. This is B.S. at best, my children and I fly frequently from Buffalo and only in extreme circumstances is Toronto cheaper. , Buffalo to Tampa Dec. 16th returning Jan.4 2015, Buffalo $250. return non stop on Southwest, and Toronto non stop$ 800 .Air Canada. I fly at least 5 X’s per year and use Buffalo 4 times. Of course its mainly US destinations only. The convenience of Buffalo is head and shoulders over Toronto which is commonly referred to by many travellers as the worlds worst airport.

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  6. Not the only option! Do your homework. Start early and shop all the airlines. My husband and I are flying to Clearwater for 500.00 return!

    Not

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