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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Third Quarter 2019 Air Fare Data

Wednesday, January 22, 2020
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.
 

Figure 1. U.S. Average Domestic Fares, 3rd Quarter 1995-2019

Unadjusted Fares (current dollars) Inflation-Adjusted (2019$) 1
1995 288 491 2
1996 269 451 3
1997 282 458 4
1998 315 486 5
1999 317 497 6
2000 337 503 7
2001 303 463 8
2002 303 444 9
2003 312 438 10
2004 297 413 11
2005 306 401 12
2006 330 414 13
2007 328 401 14
2008 359 405 15
2009 307 369 16
2010 340 395 17
2011 361 412 18
2012 367 416 19
2013 392 419 20
2014 399 422 21
2015 374 400 22
2016 345 366 23
2017 336 351 24
2018 343 349 25
2019 345 345 26
27
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).

 

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.