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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Annual and Fourth-Quarter 2018 Air Fare Data

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The 2018 average domestic itinerary air fare of $350 was the lowest inflation-adjusted annual fare since the Bureau of Transportation Statistics began collecting such records in 1995, down 1.8 percent from the previous low of $356 in 2017.

In the fourth quarter of the year, fares turned up to $359, reaching the highest quarterly level since the second quarter of 2017 ($367). The fourth-quarter 2018 average domestic itinerary air fare was up 4.7% from in the third quarter of 2018 ($343), which was the lowest quarter on record, adjusted for inflation, and up 1.2% from the fourth quarter of 2017.

Annual Air Fares

Inflation adjusted
Annual 2018 fare ($350):
From Previous Year: Down 1.8% from 2017 ($356)
All Years: Down 29.3% from the highest fare for any year, $494 in 2000
Start of BTS records: Down 27.4% from 1995 ($481)
Recent high: Down 15.9% from 2014 ($416)
 

Figure 1. U.S. Average Domestic Annual Fares, 1995-2018

Unadjusted Fares (current dollars) Inflation-Adjusted (2018 $) 1
1995 292 481 2
1996 277 443 3
1997 287 449 4
1998 309 476 5
1999 324 488 6
2000 339 494 7
2001 321 455 8
2002 312 436 9
2003 315 430 10
2004 305 406 11
2005 307 395 12
2006 329 409 13
2007 325 394 14
2008 346 404 15
2009 310 363 16
2010 336 387 17
2011 364 406 18
2012 375 410 19
2013 382 412 20
2014 392 416 21
2015 377 399 22
2016 349 365 23
2017 348 356 24
2018 350 350 25
26
Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Origin and Destination Survey

Unadjusted
Annual 2018 fare ($350):
From Previous Year: Up 0.6% from 2017 ($348)
All Years: Down 10.7% from the highest fare for any year, $392 in 2014
Start of BTS records: Up 19.7% from 1995 ($292) (compared to 64.1% consumer price increase)
Recent low: Up 12.7% from 2009 ($310)
 
Fare calculations by BTS
Itinerary Fares: Round-trips, but includes one-ways if no return is purchased.
Breakout of trip types: one-way, 39% ($252); round-trip: 61%, ($421).
 
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 obtained additional revenue from passenger fees, as well as from other sources. U.S. passenger airlines collected 74.0% of total operating revenue of $140.7 billion from passenger fares during the first nine months of 2018, down from 87.6% in 1995.

 

 

 

 

Fourth Quarter Air Fares

Itinerary Fares: Round-trips, but includes one-ways if no return is purchased.
Breakout of trip types: one-way, 37% ($256); round-trip, 63%, ($431).

 

 
Inflation-Adjusted Air Fares (Constant 2018 dollars)
4Q 2018 fare ($359):
Same Quarter: Down 27.1% from the highest 4Q fare in 2000 ($493)
All Quarters: Down 29.3% from the highest fare for any quarter in 1Q 1999 ($508)
Start of BTS records: Down 27.6% from 1Q 1995 ($496)
Recent high: Down 14.3% from 2Q 2014 ($420)

 

 

 

 

 

4Q 2018 fare ($359):
Trend: Up 4.7% from 3Q 2018 ($343)
Same Quarter: Down 8.5% from the highest 4Q fare in 2014 ($393)
All Quarters: Down 9.2% from the highest fare for any quarter in 2Q 2014 ($396)
Start of BTS records: Up 21.0% from 1Q 1995 ($297) (compared to 64.1% consumer price increase)
Recent low: Up 4.7% from 3Q 2018 ($343)
Recent high: Down 9.2% from 2Q 2014 ($396)

 

Fares by Airport

Highest: Five airports with between 50,000 and 99,999 originating passengers ($397)
Lowest: Seven airports with 1.0 to 1.49 million originating passengers ($339)

 

Additional data: see Top 100 Airports or All Airports. First Quarter 2019 average fare data will be released July 16.

 

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 $358.84 to $359.76. For results based on round-trip fares, the standard error is 0.33. The 90% confidence interval ranges from $430.14 to $431.21. For results based on one-way fares, the standard error is 0.37. The 90% confidence interval ranges from $256.24 to $257.47.