Air Fares

You are here

Third Quarter 2019 Air Fare Data

Release Number: 
BTS 04-20
Date: Wednesday, January 22, 2020

U.S. domestic air fares in the third quarter of 2019 of $345 were the lowest on record, inflation adjusted, based on Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) records dating from 1995.  The third-quarter 2019 fares were down 1.2% from the previous low of $349 in the third quarter of 2018.

Adjusted for inflation, (constant 2019 dollars) the 3Q 2019 air fare was:

  • Down 1.2% from 3Q 2018 ($349)
  • Down 3.6% from 2Q 2019 ($358). The second-quarter fare was revised from $364 in the previous release after Frontier Airlines refiled second-quarter data. Frontier’s revised second-quarter and third-quarter data are included in this release.
  • Down 18.3% from 3Q 2014 ($422)

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

 
Itinerary Fares: Round-trips, but includes one-way tickets if no return is purchased.
Breakout of trip types: one-way, 40% ($250); round-trip, 60% ($421).
Fare calculations by BTS
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.
 
Unadjusted Fares (current dollars)Inflation-Adjusted (2019$)
1995288491
1996269451
1997282458
1998315486
1999317497
2000337503
2001303463
2002303444
2003312438
2004297413
2005306401
2006330414
2007328401
2008359405
2009307369
2010340395
2011361412
2012367416
2013392419
2014399422
2015374400
2016345366
2017336351
2018343349
2019345345
Source: 

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Origin and Destination Survey

Third Quarter 2019 fare ($345):
Compared to All Third Quarters: Down 31.3% from the highest 3Q fare, $503 in 2000.
Compared to All Quarters: Down 33.3% from the highest fare for any quarter, $517 in 1Q 1999.
Start of BTS records: Down 31.7% from 1Q 1995 ($505).
Recent high: Down 19.2% from 2Q 2014 ($427).
Recent low:  Down 1.2% from 3Q 2018 ($349).
All-time low: Down 1.2% from the previous low 3Q 2018 ($349).
All-time third-quarter low:  Down 1.2% from the previous low 3Q 2018 ($349).
 
Other Revenue: In recent years, airlines increasingly obtain additional revenue from passenger fees, as well as from other sources. U.S. passenger airlines collected 73.8% of total operating revenue of $108.6 billion from passenger fares during the first nine months of 2019, down from 88.5% in 1990.
 
Third Quarter 2019 fare ($345):
Trend: Down 3.4% from 2Q 2019 ($357)
Compared to All Third Quarters: Down 11.9% from the highest 3Q fare, $392 in 2014
Compared to All Quarters: Down 12.8% from the highest fare for any quarter, $395 in 2Q 2014
Start of BTS records: Up 16.2% from 1Q 1995 ($297) (compared to 67.4% consumer price increase)
Recent low: Up 2.8% from 3Q 2017 ($336)
Recent high: Down 12.8% from 2Q 2014 ($396)
All-time low: Up 25.1% from 2Q 1996 ($276).
All-time third-quarter low: Up 24.8% from 3Q 1996 ($277).
Originating Domestic Passengers3Q Fares (current dollars)
2M+$352
1.5M-2M$321
1M-1.5M$338
500K-1M$342
100K-500K$355
Top 100 Airports$348
All Airports$345
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Origin and Destination Survey

Highest: 52 airports with 100,000-499,999 originating passengers ($355)
Lowest: Eight airports with 1.5 to 1.9 million originating passengers ($321)

Additional data: see Top 100 Airports or All Airports. Fourth Quarter 2019 average fare data will be released April 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 percent sample of airline tickets used during the quarter. For results based on all itinerary fares, the standard error is 0.28.  The 90% confidence interval ranges from $344.64 to $345.54.  For results based on round-trip fares, the standard error is 0.35.  The 90% confidence interval ranges from $420.55 to $421.70. For results based on one-way fares, the standard error is 0.33.  The 90% confidence interval ranges from $249.44 to $250.54.

Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2020