Where can you get the cheapest flight from?

We have some science behind when you should book travel to get the best discounts, and now we have a little bit of science around where you should fly from. Of course, the latter is a little bit restrictive, as people tend to fly from, uh, where they live or are working out of. But it’s still kind of interesting.

This study is based on cost per 100 km; that’s about 62 miles. The cheapest place in the world to fly from is the Philippines, where it costs $7.86 per 100 km. That means if you wanted to fly the equivalent of NYC to Atlanta in that area of the world (about 761 miles), you’d pay about $96. If you try to get a flight from NYC to Atlanta on 30 days notice right now, the lowest shot you have is about $271. Thus, it’s much cheaper to fly around Asia than within the U.S. In fact, 7 of the 10 cheapest places to fly from in the world are in Asia:

Cheapest Countries Chart

By contrast, in Monaco it costs about $316 to fly 100 kilometers; that’s staggering, but don’t forget — Monaco has a lot of rich people.

The other thing to consider is percentage of income; so, for example, a U.S. flight is about $11.58 per 62 miles (100 kilometers). That’s almost four dollars more per the distance than in the Philippines — but in the latter nation, airfare can be 1.65% of monthly income. In the United States, it’s 0.08% of monthly income. Said another way, rich people in Asia have it made in the shade with flying around; the rest of Asia? Maybe not so much.

Here’s that chart:

Per Capita Chart

Flight is an extremely interesting, complex topic. On the one hand, it isn’t very good for the environment. On the other, if we shut down all flights everywhere tomorrow, dozens of nations would fall apart (as they rely on tourism) and it would be horrible for the global economy. Prices have risen, but not as drastically as some expect. It will be interesting to see what happens with regard to where we stand with peak oil: you can drive cars without gas, for sure, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of ideas about flying planes without oil/gas. If we get to a place where airline prices just go through the roof, well, it has a lot of repercussions too: the rich literally get richer (they can go see more places), and maybe people start settling closer to their families.

Without airfare, would we lose a sense of adventure as a people? Kind of an odd question, but a legitimate one.

Ted Bauer