Madison airport's fares some of the highest in country, region - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Madison airport's fares some of the highest in country, region

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Dane County Regional Airport in Madison is one of the most expensive places to fly in the country.  New ticket price data from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation show among 30 similar-sized airports, Madison's ticket prices are 8th highest. 

You don't need any research to convince many frequent fliers.  "I'm not surprised.  It's usually about a hundred dollars more expensive to fly out of Madison than Milwaukee," said traveler Susan Van Sickle in Madison. 

Madison Airport's response: "Sometimes it costs more. Sometimes it doesn't. You have to check the fares," said spokeswoman Sharyn Wisniewski. 

So we did.  We compared fares to and from three popular U.S. destinations for the same dates in September.  We found flights from Milwaukee were cheaper in all three cases.  A round-trip one-stop ticket to Las Vegas cost $285 from Milwaukee, and $348 from Madison.  A ticket to and from Orlando cost $142 from Milwaukee and $198 from Madison.  A ticket to and from New York's La Guardia cost $145 from Milwaukee and $242 from Madison. 

"Prices are hard to understand, but there are generally cheaper fares at very big airports," said Wisniewski.  That's because low-cost carriers like AirTran and Southwest drive down ticket prices for everyone.  And, it's generally cheaper for airlines to hold down operating costs in big cities with many daily flights.

Of course, there are many factors that figure into selecting an airport or flight beyond ticket price, including flight times, distance to the airport, gas costs, and parking.

Send comments to Dan Cassuto at dcassuto@wkowtv.com.

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