The average domestic air fare increased to $390 in the third quarter of 2013, up 5.1 percent from the average fare of $371 in the third quarter of 2012, measured in constant 2013 dollars, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. During that July to September period, Huntsville, Ala., had the highest average fare, $559, while Atlantic City, N.J., had the lowest, $157.
BTS reports average fares based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares, unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. One-way trips were 32 percent of fares calculated for the third quarter of 2013. Fares are based on the total ticket value, which consists of the price charged by the airlines plus any additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of purchase. Fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase and do not include other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at either the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares,” or abnormally high reported fares.
The third-quarter 2013 fare was down 14.0 percent in constant 2013 dollars from the average fare of $453 in 2000, which was the highest of any third quarter, adjusted for inflation, in the 18 years since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995. The 14.0 percent decline took place while there was an increase in overall consumer prices of 34.8 percent. In the 18 years since 1995, inflation-adjusted fares declined 11.2 percent compared to a 52.8 percent increase in overall consumer prices.
U.S. passenger airlines collected 71.5 percent of their total revenue from passenger fares during the third quarter of 2013, down from 1990 when 87.6 percent of airline revenue was received from fares.
In the three-year period from the third quarter of 2010 to the third quarter of 2013, inflation-adjusted fares decreased 1.9 percent. In the two-year period from the third quarter of 2011 to the third quarter of 2013, inflation-adjusted fares increased 8.4 percent.