Third-Quarter 2018 U.S. Air Fare Data

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

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)

Infographic - 3rd-Quarter 2018 U.S. Air Fare Data

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 BTSTotal 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, 3rd Quarter 1995-2018Source: 

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 2000All Quarters: Down 32.5 percent from the highest fare for any quarter, $508 in 1Q 1999Start of BTS records: Down 30.8 percent from 1Q 1995Recent 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 revenue 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 2Q2018Same Quarter: Down 12.4 percent from the highest 3Q fare, $392 in 2014All Quarters: Down 13.2 percent from the highest fare for any quarter, $396 in 2Q2014Start 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

Figure 2. Fares by Airport Group based on Number of Originating Domestic Passengers 3Q 2018Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Origin and Destination Survey

Fares by airport group:

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.