Health Charlotte Douglas Airport: Why are flights expensive?

Charlotte Douglas Airport: Why are flights expensive?

Did you know that the Charlotte Douglas International Airport it ranks second in price for fares among the top 50 airports in the United States.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, fares at Charlotte Airport are more expensive than most major air ports, second only to Dulles Air Terminal in Washington.

As of mid-2019, flight costs from Dulles airport averaged $ 462. In Charlotte the fees were around $ 425. While Newark (New Jersey), Houston, Dallas, San Francisco and JFK (New York) exceeded 400 dollars.

Because Las Vegas subsidizes its costs with the help of slot machines, its airport was the cheapest of the top 50, along with Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Oakland, where prices averaged less than $ 300.

Why are flights in Charlotte so expensive?

Experts in flight costs made an analysis and the high rates at the airport Charlotte Douglass are because it is the only airport in town and American Airlines rates high prices because it has no competition.

“It is pure supply and demand. I mean, the airline industry is kind of crazy like this, and I’ve been covering the industry for over a decade. I’ll give you an example from New York, for example. If you were to fly into Tulsa, Oklahoma, and make a connection in Dallas, it could cost just a $ 200 round trip. But if I just wanted to get off the plane in Dallas and finish the flight there, it could be $ 500, “says Scott Mayerowitz, executive director of news at, a website that provides the best costs to fly.

In addition, Charlotte bets on companies that have to make trips from one day to the next without time to book.

“We have the banking sector and many last-minute executives flying with expensive tickets. American Airlines controls many of those nonstop trips. If I wanted to connect somewhere through Charlotte, it can be very cheap, ”Mayerowitz added.

“But if I want to go nonstop to Charlotte, it really depends on the week. I can be paying a really cheap fee or I can pay hundreds of dollars. And for the most part, Americans can set prices there because they control so much traffic, “she concluded.

But why does American Airlines control most of the flights in Charlotte?

The reason is because Charlotte Douglas is an American airport, where American Airlines handles 90% of the nearly 700 daily flights in the city.

It’s because Charlotte Douglas International Airport is an American hub. The airline has 90% of the nearly 700 daily flights here. That lets you set whatever price you want, says Ted Reed, airline writer at

In his book, “American Airlines, US Airways, and the Making of the World’s Largest Airline,” Reed explains that “airlines use hubs, or hub and radio systems, to achieve efficiency. Passenger traffic from the entire region is consolidated into a hub, then passengers are transferred for flights to radios, mostly airports that are not hubs ”

How did Charlotte Douglas become one of the most important hub airports in America?

According to Ted, there are three main reasons why Douglas Airport is one of the largest in the country.

“Piedmont Airlines established a hub here in 1982. That’s when all the hubs were starting up in Atlanta, Dallas, not with a lot of flights, but, you know, the concept of making connections. And Piedmont, of course, started in Winston-Salem, which wasn’t big enough, and they looked at Greensboro and Charlotte to start a center and selected Charlotte. So that’s the first thing. “

The second reason, according to Reed, is that after the departure of Jerry Orr, a former airport manager who lost his job in 2013, costs have risen unlike the old administration.

“Piedmont had become US Air and then US Airways, and they wanted to grow and this was a low-cost airport,” Reed said.

The third reason is the location of Charlotte.

“Because this is the southeast. Atlanta is an important center here. And there had to be more centers in the southeast, and Charlotte is geographically located, it’s not Atlanta, but it’s in the southeast. “

Charlotte Douglas Airport is currently undergoing a multi-year restructuring called “Destination CLT“. But, Will this update change the expensive fees?

“Well, the airlines, mainly American, absorb the cost over time. Much of the cost of airport improvements usually comes from the airlines (who) pay a price per passenger (called the ‘boarding fee’). And also a large part of your parking income. So I’m not sure that that contributes much to higher fees. They are absorbed by all the airlines, in general… and especially in Charlotte ”.

According to Reed, American Airlines costs for using the Charlotte airport are among the lowest.

“This is by far the cheapest central airport in the United States. I think the cost per passenger is between $ 1 and $ 2. It is the lowest of any major airport. At airports like Kennedy, that same cost per passenger is $ 30. But it’s not really an important factor because the cost of using this airport per passenger for the airline is ridiculously low. ”


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