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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Annual and Fourth-Quarter 2019 Air Fare Data

Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Date: Wednesday, April 22, 2020
 

The 2019 average domestic itinerary air fare of $355 was the lowest inflation-adjusted annual fare since the Bureau of Transportation Statistics began collecting such records in 1995, down 0.3% from the previous low of $356 in 2018.

During the year, fares dropped in the third quarter to $346, inflation-adjusted, the lowest quarterly fare on record. In the fourth quarter, fares rose to $357, up 2.1% from the $349 fare in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Annual Air Fares

 
Inflation-adjusted
Annual 2019 fare ($355):
From Previous Year: Down 1.7% from 2018 ($356)
All Years: Down 29.5% from the highest fare for any year, $503 in 2000
Start of BTS records: Down 27.6% from 1995 ($490)
Recent high: Down 17.1% from 2014 ($428)
 
Unadjusted
Annual 2019 fare ($355):
From Previous Year: Up 1.5% from 2018 ($350)
All Years: Down 10.5% from the highest fare for any year, $396 in 2014
Start of BTS records: Up 21.4% from 1995 ($292) (compared to 67.9% consumer price increase)
Recent low: Up 14.3% from 2009 ($310)
 

Figure 1. U.S. Average Domestic Annual Fares, 1995-2019

Unadjusted Fares (current dollars) Inflation-Adjusted (2019 $) 1
1995 292 490 2
1996 277 451 3
1997 287 458 4
1998 309 485 5
1999 324 497 6
2000 339 503 7
2001 321 463 8
2002 312 444 9
2003 315 438 10
2004 305 413 11
2005 307 402 12
2006 329 417 13
2007 325 401 14
2008 346 411 15
2009 310 370 16
2010 336 394 17
2011 364 414 18
2012 375 417 19
2013 384 422 20
2014 396 428 21
2015 379 409 22
2016 350 373 23
2017 347 362 24
2018 350 356 25
2019 355 355 26
27
Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Origin and Destination Survey

Fare calculations by BTS
Itinerary Fares: Round-trips, but includes one-ways if no return is purchased.
Breakout of trip types: one-way, 39% ($255); round-trip: 61%, ($426).

 

 
Based on a random sample of 10% of the tickets.
Total ticket value: The price charged by airlines at time of ticket purchase.
Included: Additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at time of ticket purchase.
Not included: Fees for optional services, such as baggage fees.

 

Other Revenue: In recent years, airlines increasingly obtained additional revenue from passenger fees, as well as from other sources. U.S. passenger airlines collected 73.7% of total operating revenue of $108.7 billion from passenger fares during the first nine months of 2019, down from 87.6% in 1995.

Results for average fares are based on the BTS Origin & Destination Survey, a 10% sample of airline tickets used during the quarter. For results based on all itinerary fares for 2019, the standard error is 0.18. The median fare for the year was $293.00.

 

Fourth Quarter 2019 Air Fares

 

U.S. domestic air fares in the fourth quarter of 2019 was $357. This average fare was the all-time low for any fourth quarter, inflation-adjusted, down 1.9% from the previous low in 2017.

 

Adjusted for inflation, (constant 2019 dollars) the 4Q 2019 air fare was:

  • Down 2.7% from 4Q 2018 ($366)
  • Up 3.1% from 3Q 2019 ($346)
  • Down 16.5% from 4Q 2014 ($427)

 

Itinerary Fares: Round-trips, but includes one-way tickets if no return is purchased.
Breakout of trip types: one-way, 37% ($253); round-trip, 63% ($428).

 

 
Fourth Quarter 2019 fare ($357):
Compared to All Fourth Quarters: Down 29.4% from the highest 4Q fare, $505 in 2000.
Compared to All Quarters: Down 31.2% from the highest fare for any quarter, $518 in 1Q 1999.
Start of BTS records: Down 29.6% from 1Q 1995 ($506).
Recent high: Down 16.7% from 2Q 2014 ($428).
Recent low:  Up 1.8% from 3Q 2018 ($350).
All-time low: Up 3.1% from the all-time low 3Q 2019 ($346).
All-time fourth-quarter low:  4Q 2019 was the all-time low, down 1.9% from the previous low 4Q 2017 ($364).

 

 
Fourth Quarter 2019 fare ($357):
Trend: Up 3.3% from 3Q 2019 ($345)
Compared to All Fourth Quarters: Down 9.8% from the highest 4Q fare, $395 in 2014
Compared to All Quarters: Down 9.9% from the highest fare for any quarter, $396 in 2Q 2014
Start of BTS records: Up 20.1% from 1Q 1995 ($297) (compared to 67.9% consumer price increase)
Recent low: Up 6.2% from 3Q 2017 ($336)
Recent high: Down 9.9% from 2Q 2014 ($396)
All-time low: Up 29.3% from 2Q 1996 ($276).
All-time fourth-quarter low: Up 28.1% from 4Q 1996 ($278).

 

 

 

Highest: Nine airports with 2M+ originating passengers ($368)
Lowest: Seven airports with 1.5 to 1.9 million originating passengers ($337)

 

Additional data: see Top 100 Airports or All Airports. First Quarter 2020 average fare data will be released July 21.

 

Standard error: Results for average fares are based on the BTS Origin & Destination Survey, a 10% sample of airline tickets used during the quarter. Averages for airports with smaller samples may be less reliable.

 

Note: Results for average fares are based on the BTS Origin & Destination Survey, a 10% sample of airline tickets used during the quarter. For Q4 2019 results based on all itinerary fares, the standard error is 0.31 and the median fare is $296.00. The 90% confidence interval ranges from $356.07 to $356.97. For results based on round-trip fares, the standard error is 0.38 and the median fare is $370. The 90% confidence interval ranges from $428.04 to $429.16. For results based on one-way fares, the standard error is 0.27 and the median fare is $199. The 90% confidence interval ranges from $252.75 to $253.89.