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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Third-Quarter 2018 Air Fare Data

Monday, February 25, 2019
Date: Thursday, February 21, 2019
 

The third quarter 2018 average domestic itinerary air fare of $343 is the lowest  inflation-adjusted quarterly fare since the Bureau of Transportation Statistics began collecting such records in 1995, down 0.4 percent from the previous low of $345 in the third quarter of 2017.

Adjusted for inflation, the 3Q2018 air fare was:
  • Down 0.4 percent from 3Q 2017 ($345)
  • Down 2.0 percent from 2Q 2018 ($350)
 
Itinerary Fares: Round-trips, but includes one-ways if no return is purchased.
Breakout of trip types: one-way, 40 percent ($249); round-trip, 60 percent, ($417).
 
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 based on a random sample of 10 percent of the tickets.
Not included: Fees for optional services, such as baggage fees.

Inflation-Adjusted Air Fares (Constant 2018 dollars)

Figure 1. U.S. Average Domestic Fares, 3rd Quarter 1995-2018

Unadjusted 3Q Fares (current dollars) Inflation-Adjusted 3Q Fares (2018 $) 1
1995 292 482 2
1996 277 443 3
1997 287 450 4
1998 309 477 5
1999 324 488 6
2000 339 494 7
2001 321 455 8
2002 312 436 9
2003 315 431 10
2004 305 406 11
2005 307 394 12
2006 329 407 13
2007 325 394 14
2008 346 398 15
2009 310 363 16
2010 336 388 17
2011 364 405 18
2012 375 409 19
2013 382 412 20
2014 392 415 21
2015 372 393 22
2016 344 360 23
2017 336 345 24
2018 343 343 25
26
Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Origin and Destination Survey

3Q 2018 fare ($343):
Same Quarter: Down 30.5 percent from the highest 3Q fare, $494 in 2000
All Quarters: Down 32.5 percent from the highest fare for any quarter, $508 in 1Q 1999
Start of BTS records: Down 30.8 percent from 1Q 1995
Recent high: Down 18.2 percent from 2Q2014 ($420)

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 percent of total operating revenue of $140.7 billion from passenger fares during the first nine months of 2018, down from 87.6 percent in 1995.

Unadjusted Air Fares  

3Q2018 fare ($343):
Trend: Down 1.7 percent from 2Q2018
Same Quarter: Down 12.4 percent from the highest 3Q fare, $392 in 2014
All Quarters: Down 13.2 percent from the highest fare for any quarter, $396 in 2Q2014
Start of BTS records: Up 15.6 percent from 1Q1995 (compared to 65.0 percent consumer price increase)
Recent low: Up 2.2 percent from 3Q2017 ($336)
Recent high: Down 13.2 percent from 2Q2014 ($396)
 

Fares by Airport

 

Highest: Four airports with between 50,000 and 99,999 originating ($388)
Lowest: Seven airports with 1.5 to 1.99 million originating passengers ($314)
 
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. Fourth Quarter 2018 average fare data will be released April 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: 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 percent confidence interval ranges from $342.83 to $343.74.  For results based on round-trip fares, the standard error is 0.32. The 90 percent confidence interval ranges from $416.76 to $417.83. For results based on one-way fares, the standard error is 0.34. The 90 percent confidence interval ranges from $248.68 to $249.80.