U.S. Air Fare Data

1st-Quarter 2018 U.S. Air Fare Data

Airplane in the air - Photo by Deniz Altindas on Unsplash
1st-Quarter 2018 U.S. Air Fare Data

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

First quarter 2018 average domestic itinerary air fare: $346

  • Down 3.7 percent from 1Q 2017 ($360)
  • Down 1.1 percent from 4Q 2017 ($350)

Averages adjusted for inflation.

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. Trips: One-way, 39 percent ($253); round-trip, 61 percent, ($413)   Fare calculations by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (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)

Figure 1. U.S. Average Domestic Fares, 1st Quarter 1995-2018Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Origin and Destination Survey

1Q 2018 fare ($346): Same Quarter: Down 30.9 percent from the highest 1Q fare, $501 in 1999 All Quarters: Down 30.9 percent from the highest fare for any quarter, $501 in 1Q 1999 Start of BTS records: Down 29.2 percent from 1Q 1995 Recent low: Up 1.9 percent from 3Q 2017 ($340) Recent high: Down 16.3 percent from 4Q 2014 ($414)

Other Revenue: In recent years, airlines obtained additional revenue from passenger fees, as well as from other sources. U.S. passenger airlines collected 73.3 percent of total revenue from passenger fares during 1Q 2018, down from 87.6 percent in 1995.

Unadjusted Air Fares 1Q2018 fare ($346): Trend: Decreased from previous quarter Same Quarter: Down 10.8 percent from the highest 1Q fare, $388 in 2015 All Quarters: Down 12.4 percent from the highest fare for any quarter, $396 in 2Q2014 Start of BTS records: Up 16.7 percent from 1Q 1995 (compared to 64.9 percent consumer price increase) Recent low: Up 3.2 percent from 3Q2017 ($336) Recent high: Down 12.4 percent from 2Q2014 ($396)  

Fares by Airport

Figure 2. Fares by Airport Group based on Number of Originating Domestic Passengers 1Q 2018Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Origin and Destination Survey

Fares by airport group: Highest: Six airports with between 50,000 and 99,999 originating ($467). Lowest: 11 airports with 1.0 to 1.49 million originating passengers ($319). 

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.

All itinerary fares: standard error is 0.31.  The 90 percent confidence interval ranges from $345.97 to $347.00. Round-trip fares: standard error is 0.39. The 90 percent confidence interval ranges from $413.19 to $414.47. One-way fares: standard error is 0.40. The 90 percent confidence interval ranges from $252.63 to $253.95.

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