Air Fares

You are here

Annual and Fourth-Quarter 2018 Air Fare Data

Release Number: 
BTS 16-19
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)
 
Unadjusted Fares (current dollars)Inflation-Adjusted (2018 $)
1995292481
1996277443
1997287449
1998309476
1999324488
2000339494
2001321455
2002312436
2003315430
2004305406
2005307395
2006329409
2007325394
2008346404
2009310363
2010336387
2011364406
2012375410
2013382412
2014392416
2015377399
2016349365
2017348356
2018350350
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

Originating Domestic Passengers4Q Fares (current dollars)
2M+366
1.5M-2M358
1M-1.5M339
500K-1M350
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Origin and Destination Survey

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.

Updated: Tuesday, April 16, 2019