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Washington Dulles
from $35.00

Getting around by air


The USA has more than 375 domestic airports, but only a baker's dozen are the main international gateways. Many other airports are called 'international' but may have only a few flights from other countries – typically Mexico or Canada. Even travel to an international gateway sometimes requires a connection in another gateway city (eg London–Los Angeles flights may involve transferring in Houston).

International gateway airports in the USA:

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport

Logan International Airport (BOS; Boston; www.massport.com/logan-airport)

O'Hare International Airport (ORD; Chicago; www.ohare.com)

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport

Honolulu International Airport

Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport

Los Angeles International Airport

Miami International Airport

John F Kennedy

Newark Liberty International

San Francisco International Airport

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Washington Dulles International Airport


Flying midweek and in the off-season (usually fall to spring, excluding holidays) is always less expensive, but fare wars can start any time. To ensure you've found the cheapest possible ticket for the flight you want, check every angle: compare several online travel booking sites with the airline's own website. Engage a living, breathing travel agent if your itinerary is complex.

Keep in mind your entire itinerary. Some deals for travel within the USA can only be purchased overseas in conjunction with an international air ticket, or you may get discounts for booking air and car rental together. Or you may find domestic flights within the USA are less expensive when added on to your international airfare.

The big three US travel-booking websites are Travelocity, Orbitz (www.orbitz.com) and Expedia (www.expedia.com). Similar to these and worth trying are Cheap Tickets (www.cheaptickets.com) and Lowest Fare (www.lowestfare.com). Typically, these sites don't include budget airlines such as Southwest.

Meta sites like Kayak (www.kayak.com) and Hipmunk (www.hipmunk.com) are good for price comparisons, as they gather from many sources (but don't provide direct booking).

Bidding for travel can be very successful, but read the fine print carefully before bidding. Try Hotwire (www.hotwire.com), Skyauction (www.skyauction.com) and Priceline (www.priceline.com).