First Quarter 2022 Average Air Fare Increases 16.9% from First Quarter 2021

BTS 31-22

The average US domestic air fare decreased in the first quarter of 2022 to $328, down 1.8% from the fourth quarter 2021 inflation-adjusted fare of $335. Adjusted for inflation (constant 2022 dollars), the average 1Q 2022 air fare was down 11.1% from $370 in the same quarter of 2020 and down 16.6% from pre-pandemic Q4 2019 ($394). Adjusted for inflation, the first quarter 2022 fare is up 16.9% from the first quarter 2021 fare of $281.

In the first quarter 2022, passenger demand increased with US airlines reporting 66.4 million originating passengers in the first quarter of 2022, up 9.1% from 60.8 million passengers in the first quarter of 2020.

Itinerary Fares: Round-trips, but includes one-way tickets if no return is purchased.
Breakout of trip types: one-way, 41% ($242); round-trip, 59% ($401).

Fare calculations by BTS
*Based on a sample of approximately 10% of tickets sold.
Total ticket value: The price charged by airlines at the time of ticket purchase.
Included: New for Q1 2022: All fees and charges levied by an air carrier required for the passenger to board the aircraft. Also, additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of ticket purchase.
Not included: Fees for optional services, such as baggage fees, seat upgrades, and selecting an assigned seat on the aircraft.

Inflation-Adjusted Average Air Fares
First Quarter 2022 fare ($328):
Compared to all first quarters: Down 42.6% from the highest 1Q fare, $573 in 1999.
Compared to all quarters: Down 42.6% from the highest fare for any quarter, $573 in 1Q 1999.
Start of BTS records: Down 41.2% from 1Q 1995 ($559).
Recent high: Down 20.5% from 2Q 2017 ($413).
Recent low: Up 22.7% from 3Q 2020 ($268).
All-time low: Up 22.7% from the previous low 3Q 2020 ($268).
All-time first-quarter low: Up 16.9% from the previous low 1Q 2021 ($281).

Other Revenue: In recent years, airlines have increasingly obtained additional revenue from passenger fees, as well as from other sources. US passenger airlines collected 68.5% of total operating revenue of $26.8 billion from passenger fares during the first three months of 2022, down from 88.5% in 1990.

Unadjusted Average Air Fares
First Quarter 2022 fare ($328):
Trend: Up 0.4% from 4Q 2021 ($327).
Compared to all first quarters: Down 15.8% from the highest 1Q fare, $390 in 2015.
Compared to all quarters: Down 18.3% from the highest fare for any quarter, $402 in 2Q 2014.
Start of BTS records: Up 10.6% from 1Q 1995 ($297) (compared to 88.3% consumer price increase).
Recent low: Up 34.2% from 3Q 2020 ($245).
Recent high: Down 8.6% from 4Q 2018 ($359).
All-time low: Up 34.2% from 3Q 2020 ($245).
All-time first-quarter low: Up 26.2% from 1Q 2021 ($260).

Fares by Airport

Fares by airport group:
Highest: 7 airports with 50,000-99,999 originating passengers ($351)
Lowest: 10 airports with 1.0-1.49 million originating passengers ($310)

Additional data: see Top 100 Airports or All Airports. Second Quarter 2022 average fare data will be released October 18, 2022.

standard errors: 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. For Q1 2022 results based on all itinerary fares, the standard error is 0.27 and the median fare is $257.56. The 90% confidence interval ranges from $328.04 to $328.92. For results based on round-trip fares, the standard error is .38 and the median fare is $329.78. The 90% confidence interval ranges from $400.15 to $401.39. For results based on one-way fares, the standard error is .32 and the median fare is $187.82. The 90% confidence interval ranges from $241.62 to $242.66.

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