Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

 Find the latest Coronavirus-related transportation statistics on the BTS COVID-19 landing page.

United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

1st-Quarter 2017 Air Fare Data

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Download Excel Tables

The average domestic air fare decreased to $352 in the first quarter of 2017, down 5.0 percent from $370 in the first quarter of 2016, adjusted for inflation but up 1.5 percent from $347 in the fourth quarter of 2016 (Table 1), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.  

Figure 1. U.S. Average Domestic Fares,1st Quarter 1995-2017

Figure 1. U.S. Average Domestic Fares,1st Quarter 1995-2017
1Q Fares (current dollars) 1Q Fares (2017 $)
1995 297 479
1996 284 446
1997 283 432
1998 305 458
1999 332 491
2000 340 487
2001 348 482
2002 320 438
2003 319 425
2004 320 418
2005 301 382
2006 323 396
2007 318 380
2008 333 383
2009 314 360
2010 328 368
2011 356 391
2012 373 398
2013 378 397
2014 382 396
2015 388 402
2016 361 370
2017 352 352
Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Origin and Destination Survey: DB1BTicket

BTS reports average fares based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares, unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. One-way trips accounted for 34 percent of fares calculated for the first quarter of 2017. The average domestic one-way air fare was $256 in the first quarter of 2017, while the average round-trip air fare was $417. Fares are based on the total ticket value, which consists of the price charged by the airlines plus any additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of purchase. Fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase and do not include fees for optional services, such as baggage fees. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares.” Constant 2017 dollars are used for inflation adjustment.

Inflation-Adjusted Air Fares

The first quarter fare of $352 was the lowest first-quarter fare in the 22 years since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995. The previous low was $370 in the first quarter of 2016. The first-quarter 2017 fare was down 28.3 percent from the average fare of $491 in 1999, the highest inflation-adjusted first quarter average fare on record. Since 1995, inflation-adjusted fares declined 26.5 percent (Table 1). See BTS Air Fare web page for historic data.

In recent years, airlines have obtained additional revenue from fees charged to passengers, as well as from other sources. U.S. passenger airlines collected 73.7 percent of their total revenue from passenger fares during the first quarter of 2017, down from 87.6 percent in 1995 (Table 2).

Quarter-to-Quarter Change

Average fares rose 1.5 percent from $347 in the fourth quarter of 2016 to the $352 in the first quarter of 2017, the second consecutive quarterly increase. Prior to that, fares declined for six consecutive quarters after reaching an inflation-adjusted recent high of $402 in the first-quarter of 2015 (Table 3).

Unadjusted Air Fares

The $352 first-quarter 2017 average fare was down 2.6 percent from the first quarter 2016 fare of $361 dropping to the lowest first-quarter fare since $328 in 2010. The first quarter 2017 fare was down 12.5 percent from the fare of $396 in the third quarter of 2014, which was the highest average fare for any quarter since 1995. Since 1995, unadjusted fares rose 18.5 percent compared to a 61.3 percent increase in overall consumer prices (Table 4).

First quarter 2017 fares of $352 were up 1.5 percent, from the fourth-quarter 2016 fares of $347. The first quarter 2017 average fare was down 2.6 percent from the first quarter of 2016 ($361) and down 9.4 percent from the first quarter of 2015 ($388). See Air Fares for historical data.

Fares by Airport

Of airports grouped by the number of originating passengers in the first quarter of 2017, the 13 airports with between 50,000 and 99,999 originating passengers had the highest average fares ($386). Airports with 1.0 to 1.49 million originating passengers had the lowest average fares of any group ($314) (Table 6).

Tables listing the airports by group can be found on the BTS Air Fare web page.

For additional data, see Top 100 Airports or All Airports. Since average fares are based on the Origin and Destination Survey 10 percent ticket sample, averages for airports with smaller samples may be less reliable. Fares for Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico airports are not included in rankings but are available on the web page. Second Quarter 2017 average fare data will be released Oct. 17.

Note: Results for average fares are based on the BTS Origin & Destination Survey, a 10 percent sample of airline tickets used during the quarter. For results based on all itinerary fares, the standard error is 0.31 at the 90 percent confidence level range from $351.33 to $352.36. For results based on round-trip fares, the standard error is 0.40 at the 90 percent confidence level range from $416.43 to $417.76. For results based on one-way fares, standard error is 0.39 at the 90 percent confidence level range from $255.75 to $257.04.

 

 

Table 1. 1st Quarter Average Fare 1995-2017, Adjusted for Inflation, 1Q 2017

Year 1Q Average Fare in constant 2017 dollars ($) Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (1Q to 1Q) (%) Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (1Q 1995 to 1Q of each year) (%) Percent Change in Average Fare to 1st Quarter 2017 (%)
1995 479 -26.5
1996 446 -6.9 -6.9 -21.1
1997 432 -3.1 -9.7 -18.6
1998 458 6.0 -4.4 -23.2
1999 491 7.1 2.4 -28.3
2000 487 -0.7 1.7 -27.8
2001 482 -1.2 0.6 -27.0
2002 438 -9.1 -8.6 -19.6
2003 425 -3.0 -11.4 -17.1
2004 418 -1.4 -12.6 -15.9
2005 382 -8.7 -20.2 -7.9
2006 396 3.5 -17.4 -11.1
2007 380 -4.0 -20.7 -7.3
2008 383 0.7 -20.1 -8.0
2009 360 -5.8 -24.8 -2.3
2010 368 2.1 -23.2 -4.4
2011 391 6.1 -18.5 -9.9
2012 398 1.9 -16.9 -11.6
2013 397 -0.3 -17.1 -11.4
2014 396 -0.3 -17.4 -11.1
2015 402 1.7 -16.0 -12.6
2016 370 -8.0 -22.7 -5.0
2017 352 -5.0 -26.5 N/A
Notes:

Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares; and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0

Table 2. Passenger Airline Revenue from Fares 1990-2017, 1Q 2017

Year Revenue from Passenger Fares as Percent of Total Scheduled Passenger Airline Operating Revenue* (%)
1990 88.5
1995 87.6
2000 88.9
2001 87.8
2002 87.1
2003 84.9
2004 80.6
2005 78.4
2006 77.6
2007 77.7
2008 75.9
2009 73.7
2010 74.8
2011 74.6
2012 74.1
2013 74.6
2014 74.8
2015 74.7
2016 74.1
2017 (1Q) 73.7
Notes:

* From Schedule P-1.2: Passenger Revenue (Fares) (Acct 3901) as a percentage of Total Operating Revenues (4999).

Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, P-1.2

Table 3. Inflation-Adjusted Average Domestic Airline Fares by Quarter, 1Q 2017

Quarter/Year Average Domestic Fare (2017$)
Average Fare in constant 2017 dollars ($) Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
1Q 2015 402 -0.6
2Q 2015 395 -1.8
3Q 2015 380 -3.9
4Q 2015 372 -2.0
1Q 2016 370 -0.4
2Q 2016* 351 -5.3
3Q 2016* 344 -1.9
4Q 2016* 347 0.8
1Q 2017* 352 1.5
Notes:
Percent change based on unrounded numbers.
* Fares for the most recent four quarters are in current dollars, not adjusted for inflation.
Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares; and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0

Table 4. Unadjusted 1st Quarter Average Fares, 1995-2017, 1Q 2017

Year Average Fare in current dollars ($) Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (1Q to 1Q) (%) Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (1Q 1995 to 1Q of each year) (%) Inflation Rate from 1995 (Mar 1995 to Mar of each year)*
1995 297 N/A N/A N/A
1996 284 -4.4 -4.4 2.7
1997 283 -0.2 -4.5 5.8
1998 305 7.5 2.6 7.3
1999 332 8.9 11.7 9.1
2000 340 2.6 14.6 12.6
2001 348 2.2 17.1 16.5
2002 320 -8.0 7.8 17.9
2003 319 -0.3 7.5 21.3
2004 320 0.3 7.9 23.5
2005 301 -5.9 1.5 27.2
2006 323 7.3 8.9 31.9
2007 318 -1.7 7.1 35.1
2008 333 4.9 12.3 40.6
2009 314 -5.8 5.7 40.5
2010 328 4.6 10.5 43.8
2011 356 8.4 19.8 46.9
2012 373 4.8 25.6 51.1
2013 378 1.4 27.3 53.6
2014 382 1.1 28.7 55.8
2015 388 1.6 30.8 55.7
2016 361 -7.0 21.7 57.3
2017 352 -2.6 18.5 61.3
Notes:
Percent change based on unrounded numbers
* Rate calculated using Bureau of Labor Statistics General Consumer Price Index
Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares; and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0

Table 5. Unadjusted Average Domestic Airline Fares by Quarter, 1Q 2017

Quarter/Year Average Domestic Fare (current$)
Average Fare in current dollars ($) Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
1Q 2015 388 -1.1
2Q 2015 386 -0.6
3Q 2015 372 -3.7
4Q 2015 363 -2.5
1Q 2016 361 -0.4
2Q 2016 351 -2.9
3Q 2016 344 -1.9
4Q 2016 347 0.8
1Q 2017 352 1.5
Notes:

Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares; and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0

Table 6. Fares at Airports Grouped by Originating Passengers, 1Q 2017

Airport Groups based on 1Q 2017 Originating Passengers Average Fare 1st Quarter 2017 ($) Percent of Total Passengers
2 million+ 338 14
1.5-1.99 million 358 22
1.0-1.49 million 314 15
500-999,000 351 24
100-499,000 381 14
50-99,999 386 2
Average Fare at Top 100 Airports 350 91
Average Fare at All Airports 352 100
Notes:

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares; and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0