Air Fares

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Second-Quarter 2018 Air Fare Data

Release Number: 
BTS 49-18
Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The second quarter 2018 average domestic itinerary air fare of $349 was the lowest second-quarter fare since the Bureau of Transportation Statistics began collecting such records in 1995 and the second lowest of any quarter. 

Adjusted for inflation, the 2Q2018 air fare was:

  • Down 4.5 percent from 2Q 2017 ($366)
  • Down 0.3 percent from 1Q 2018 ($350)

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, BTS Air Fares, Origin and Destination Survey

Itinerary Fares: Round-trips, but includes one-ways if no return is purchased.
Breakout of trip types: one-way, 39 percent ($249); round-trip, 61 percent, ($424).
 
Fare calculations by BTS
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.

Inflation-Adjusted Air Fares (Constant 2018 dollars)

Unadjusted 2Q Fares (current dollars)Inflation-Adjusted 2Q Fares (2018 $)
1995297490
1996276443
1997289454
1998301465
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Origin and Destination Survey

2Q 2018 fare ($349):
Same Quarter: Down 29.9 percent from the highest 2Q fare, $498 in 1999
All Quarters: Down 31.1 percent from the highest fare for any quarter, $507 in 1Q 1999
Start of BTS records: Down 28.8 percent from 2Q 1995
Recent low: Up 1.6 percent from 3Q 2017 ($344)
Recent high: Down 16.5 percent from 4Q 2014 ($418)

Other Revenue: In recent years, airlines obtained additional revenue from passenger fees, as well as from other sources. U.S. passenger airlines collected 73.7 percent of total revenue from passenger fares during the first six months of 2018, down from 87.6 percent in 1995.

2Q2018 fare ($349):
Trend: Up 0.8 percent from 1Q2018
Same Quarter: Down 11.7 percent from the highest 2Q fare, $396 in 2014
All Quarters: Down 11.7 percent from the highest fare for any quarter, $396 in 2Q2014
Start of BTS records: Up 17.6 percent from 1Q 1995 (compared to 66.7 percent consumer price increase)
Recent low: Up 4.0 percent from 3Q2017 ($336)
Recent high: Down 11.7 percent from 2Q2014 ($396)

Fares by Airport

Originating Domestic Passengers2Q Fares (current dollars)
2M+351
1.5M-2M325
1M-1.5M336
500K-1M345
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Origin and Destination Survey

Highest: Four airports with between 50,000 and 99,999 originating ($391)
Lowest: Seven airports with 1.5 to 1.99 million originating passengers ($325)

Additional data: see Top 100 Airports or All Airports. Fares for Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico airports are not included in rankings but are available on the web page. Third Quarter 2018 average fare data will be released Jan. 15.

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

Note: For results based on all itinerary fares, the standard error is 0.26. The 90 percent confidence interval ranges from $348.73 to $349.60.  For results based on round-trip fares, the standard error is 0.32. The 90 percent confidence interval ranges from $423.47 to $424.51. For results based on one-way fares, the standard error is 0.33. The 90 percent confidence interval ranges from $249.16 to $250.25.

Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2018