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These Airlines Have the Best International Flight Deals (and They’re Not Low-Cost Carriers)

By Michelle Baran

Dec 12, 2019

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Mexico is the most popular international destination for U.S. travelers. Which airline will get you there for less?

Photo by Bo Arrington/Shutterstock

Mexico is the most popular international destination for U.S. travelers. Which airline will get you there for less?

A state-by-state breakdown of discounted airfares shows that the majority of international airfare deals can be traced to these three U.S. airlines.

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Despite the fact that there are dozens of international carriers that fly into and out of the United States, including some that have become known for attractive low-cost fares (Norwegian, we’re looking at you), the vast majority of global airfare deals actually come from the three big U.S. carriers—American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines.

That’s according to data released today by flight-deal tracking service Scott’s Cheap Flights, which analyzed more than 7,000 deal alerts over the past 12 months to identify which airlines offer the best deals from each state.

“In every state, the airline that we most frequently found great deals on was either American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, or United Airlines,” Scott’s Cheap Flights stated in its newly released report.

The airline with the fourth highest number of cheap flights out of the United States was a non-U.S. carrier, Air Canada, followed by Alaska Airlines and JetBlue.

The flight-deal service found that when broken down by region, United often has the most deals for flights out of the West, American offers a lot of deals in the East, and Delta holds sway in much of the South and Midwest.


Depending on which state you live in, these are the airlines that offer the most international flight deals.

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Interestingly, however, if one airline is known to have a stronghold in a specific airport, the greatest number of deals are actually from competing airlines at that hub. For example, Atlanta is Delta’s biggest hub with the carrier’s flights accounting for about 1,000 of the approximately 1,300 daily departures. It seems logical that with so many flights Delta would have the most deals, but Scott’s Cheap Flights found more deals on American out of Atlanta airport.

The report found similar examples in other states, as well. For instance, Phoenix airport is an American Airlines hub, but there were nearly 20 percent more international deals on United out of that airport. On the flip side, Denver is a United hub but there were nearly 20 percent more deals on American flights leaving from there.

There are deals on other carriers, too

While 56 percent of the deals Scott’s Cheap Flights tracked were from American, Delta, United, or Air Canada, 40 percent of the deals were from smaller U.S. airlines, such as JetBlue, Alaska, Southwest, and Hawaiian, or from foreign carriers, including KLM, Air France, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas.

Additionally, American, Delta, United, and Air Canada all codeshare with numerous other airlines, which means that many of the deals they offer are also bookable through their codeshare partners.

The vast majority of the deals were from airlines that are part of the Star Alliance network, of which United and Air Canada are members. There was only one state—Wisconsin—where another network beat the Star Alliance in terms of the number of international flight deals, and that was the SkyTeam alliance, which includes Delta.

The best states for international travel deals


The state you live in dictates your access to good global flight deals.

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Perhaps not surprisingly, states served by more airlines see more deals. So, which are the best states for flights deals? The greatest number of deals were found in California, where 4,844 discounted international airfares surfaced and where there are 69 carriers with international routes. That was followed by Florida with 4,019 deals and 62 carriers; New York with 2,941 deals and 74 carriers; and Texas with 2,078 deals and 55 airlines.

The worst states for cheap international airfares were Delaware, from which only 77 deals emerged over the course of a year, and where only 16 carriers offer international flights; Alaska with 87 deals and 14 international carriers; North Dakota with 103 deals and 16 carriers; New Hampshire with 123 deals and 20 airlines; and South Dakota with 146 deals and 17 carriers.

The big takeaway from this report, according to Scott’s Cheap Flights is to “cast a wide net when looking for cheap flights. The airline that dominates your region or the airline that’s your typical go-to may not offer the best deals for your particular trip.”

>> Next: How to Use Google Flights to Find Cheap Airline Tickets

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