The greater Detroit region is home to several airports that provide passenger flights to a host of domestic and international destinations. Airports farther afield in Windsor, Ontario, as well as Toledo, Ohio, and Flint, Michigan, give Detroit area residents more choices that may let travelers cut travel time, save money, and fly with just a little less stress.
- Location: Romulus
- Best If: You're flying internationally.
- Avoid If: You want to take public transportation to downtown Detroit.
- Distance from Downtown Detroit: A 25-minute taxi will cost about $45, while the 60-minute bus ride costs about $2. Detroit isn't known for its public transportation—it is called the Motor City, after all.
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is located in Romulus, Michigan, just southeast of the I-94 and I-275 interchange. Detroit Metro, as it's known locally, is one of the nation's largest airports. It has six runways, two major terminals with attached parking structures, and 145 gates, providing nonstop to more than 140 domestic and international destinations. While several major airlines operate out of Detroit Metro Airport, including Spirit Airlines and Southwest Airlines, it's Delta that offers the most flights—it's the airline's second-largest hub.
Despite it being one of the busiest airports in the country, serving 35.2 million people in 2018, Detroit Metro is a breeze to navigate. The modern terminals are well laid out, and security lines move quickly. The only downside to Detroit Metro is that public transportation isn't great—you'll have to take an hour-long bus ride to get downtown.
Bishop International Airport (FNT)
- Location: Flint
- Best If: You want to skip the crowd, or you're flying to Chicago, Atlanta, or Florida.
- Avoid If: You're not renting a car.
- Distance from Downtown Detroit: An hour-long taxi ride will cost about $70. There aren't public transportation options, though you could take a Greyhound bus from downtown Flint; however, you'd have to get to the bus terminal from the airport first.
Bishop International Airport in Flint served 700,000 passengers in 2018, making it Michigan's third busiest airport after Detroit Metro and Grand Rapids. It has nonstop routes to Chicago, Atlanta, and four cities in Florida on Allegiant, American, Delta, and United. The airport passenger terminal received a massive renovation in 2012 and is designed for easy in-and-out access. Given that the airport is not too crowded, this translates into short security lines and overall easy transportation experience.
Your best bet to get to downtown Detroit is to rent a car and drive yourself—taxis are quite expensive, and there aren't any public transportation options.
Capital Regional International Airport (LAN)
- Location: Lansing
- Best If: You happen to find a great deal.
- Avoid If: You're not renting a car.
- Distance from Downtown Detroit: A 90-minute taxi will cost well over $100. There are no public transportation options. If you're flying into Lansing to get to Detroit, you should rent a car.
Lansing's Capital Region International Airport has nonstop routes to Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C. on American, Delta, and United. There's also seasonal nonstop service to Cancun, Mexico, allowing locals to escape the freezing winters. You may find decent deals to this airport, but otherwise, it's pretty far from Detroit (given that there's even a flight to the city) and likely not worth your while. You'd almost certainly have to rent a car to get between the two cities—a drive of about 100 miles.
Toledo Express International Airport (TOL)
- Location: Swanton Township, Ohio
- Best If: You want cheap flights on Allegiant to/from Florida.
- Avoid If: You don't want layovers.
- Distance from Downtown Detroit: An 80-minute taxi will cost about $100. You can also take buses (Greyhound and Megabus) from downtown Toledo to Detroit. However, you're best off renting a car.
The Toledo Express Airport hosts two major airlines with domestic passenger service: American Eagle provides nonstop service to Chicago O'Hare while Allegiant Air offers nonstop flights to locations in Florida. Unless you're booking one of those cheap flights to Florida, you're probably better of flying into Detroit Metro. If you are flying into Toledo, you should rent a car to get to Detroit, as other transportation options are limited.
Windsor International Airport (YQG)
- Location: Southeast Windsor, Ontario, Canada
- Best If: You want the quickest access to downtown Detroit or you're flying from/to Canada.
- Avoid If: You don't want to cross the border.
- Distance from Downtown Detroit: A 20-minute taxi will cost about $40, due to extra fees for crossing the border. Public transportation options are limited—you'd have to take a $20 taxi to the bus terminal, then catch a $5 bus to Detroit.
Windsor International Airport (YQG) in Ontario, Canada, is actually the closest airport to downtown Detroit, just eight miles from the city. It is, however, across the border in Canada, so you'll have to remember to bring your passport if you plan on flying through here. Air Canada is the primary operator with commuter flights to Toronto and Montreal, from which you can connect to many other destinations. There's also seasonal service to warm-weather spots like Florida, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico.
While the airport is close to Detroit as the bird flies, crossing the border might take a little bit of time, depending on the day, and you'll also pay a premium for a taxi ride in order to make the crossing. It might be better to rent a car, though it depends on how much you plan on using it once you get to Detroit.