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Buffalo Niagara International Airport – BUF vs. YYZ

by Mary Chong
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When we plan a trip, we always check flight prices from both Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) because you just never know which is going to have the better value. I always wondered if this was just something that WE did because:

  1. We are budget conscious and live by the motto of getting the most travel bang for our travel buck and a bit of saving here and there add up to an extra trip later in the year.
  2. We can be crazy at times and look at any part of a journey – be it planning, preparation or the drive to the airport as just part of the adventure.

So, to see if it was just my husband and I who think it’s no big deal to make the 1 to 2-hour drive to Buffalo when searching for flights from Toronto… I took to Facebook and asked some of our readers what they thought.

(Not a fan on Facebook yet? Subscribe here to the Calculated Traveller Facebook Fan Page)

Here’s the Question I asked:
Have you ever driven to another country, state or province purely to catch a flight? Was it worth it or too much trouble?

Here are some of the answers:
buffalo niagara international airport Facebook

As you can see, it’s not just us!!

Fare Comparisons between Buffalo Niagara International Airport and Toronto Pearson International Airport When Flying to Orlando

Fare Source: www.travelocity.com

Fee comparison example for a party of four, flying round-trip to Orlando in February 2015 (Tuesday to Tuesday). Includes first checked in bag per traveller and parking for one week in lowest priced discount lot.

If flying from Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ) If flying from Buffalo Niagara Airport (BUF)
Total for Airline Tickets (party of 4) $1,629.19 $1,075.59
1 Week Parking (lowest priced discount lot) $70 $50
Total cost $1,699.19 $1,125.59
Total savings $573.60

Tuesday-to-Tuesday travel in February 2015, average of lowest available airfares inclusive of taxes per travelocity.com research on 9/18/2014. Conversion rates US$1 = CDN$1.09665 retrieved from Oanda.com on 09/18/2014.

Many hotels in the area surrounding the airport include 1 week of free parking (discount on 2nd week of parking) as long as you stay 1 night pre-flight as well as free shuttle to and from the airport. This is a great option if you have a really early flight and don’t want to take a chance with delays at the border or issues with bad weather.

We’ve personally done this on past flights to Los Angeles, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Hong Kong and Barcelona. Another bonus is that because we collect Delta SkyMiles, Delta is one of the airlines that regularly fly out of Buffalo.

One thing you need to be aware of is that depending on your destination and choice of airline a connection may be required. We don’t find this an issue – again; it’s just part of the adventure when you are saving hundreds of dollars on the ticket.

buffalo niagara international airport interior
Another thing is that average wait time in Toronto to check-in and pass through customs is about 2 hours! Each time we’ve flown out of Buffalo, the line-ups at check-in and customs have practically been non-existent. It’s always been fast in comparison.

Also, be aware that Buffalo has two airports – Buffalo Niagara International Airport and Niagara Falls International Airport. So make sure when you map the drive that you select the correct place.

Fast facts according to Buffalo Niagara International Airport:

  • Over 2 million Canadians flew out of the Buffalo Airport in 2013
  • Average peak wait time at the Buffalo Airport checkpoint is only 12 minutes
  • No additional airport stop for Customs & Immigration for U.S. flights
  • Substantial savings for flying to popular U.S. destinations
  • No international taxes or fees to fly to U.S. airports
  • Buffalo Airport is ranked 16th in the U.S. for most affordable airfares, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2013


The next time you are searching for flights out of Toronto, think about flying out of Buffalo instead, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Read more about Buffalo.
Read more about Niagara.

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