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1st-Quarter 2013 Domestic Air Fare Almost Unchanged from 1st Quarter 2012 (Adjusted for Inflation)

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Top 100 Airports: Highest Fares at Huntsville, Lowest Fares at Atlantic City

Domestic Air Fares

Top 100 Airports: Highest Fares at Huntsville, Lowest Fares at Atlantic City

The average domestic air fare rose to $379 in the first quarter of 2013, up 0.1 percent from the average fare of $378 in the first quarter of 2012, measured in 2013 dollars (Table 1), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.  Huntsville, Ala., had the highest average fare, $543, while Atlantic City, N.J., had the lowest, $169 (Table 6).

The first-quarter 2013 fare in 2013 dollars was down 19.1 percent from the average fare of $468 in 1999, the highest of any first quarter adjusted for inflation (Table 2).

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, 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. 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 the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares” or abnormally high reported fares.

Passenger airlines collected 70.1 percent of their total revenue from passenger fares during the first three months of 2013, down from 1990 when 87.6 percent of airline revenue was received from fares (Table 1A).

From 2000 to 2013, inflation-adjusted fares declined 18.1 percent while there was an overall increase in consumer prices of 36 percent. In the 18 years from 1995, inflation-adjusted fares declined 17 percent compared to a 53.7 percent increase in consumer prices (Table 2). See for historic data.

Quarter-to-Quarter Change
Over the past three years, from the second quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2013, inflation-adjusted fares rose 5.6 percent (Table 3).

Air Fares in Unadjusted Dollars
Not adjusted for inflation, the $379 first-quarter 2013 average fare was the highest average fare for any first quarter since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995. The previous first-quarter high was $373 in 2012 (Table 4).

Unadjusted first-quarter 2013 fares were up 1.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012 (Table 5). See for additional unadjusted fare data by airport.

Fares by Airport
See Tables 6-8 for data about the based on 2012 originating passengers. All figures in 2013 dollars.

Table 6: Five highest and five lowest average fares in the first quarter: Huntsville had the highest average fare ($543) while Atlantic City had the lowest ($169). For the Top 100 Airports, see on the BTS website.

Table 7: Five largest increases and five largest decreases in 2013 dollars from the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013: Knoxville, Tenn., had the largest increase (16.3 percent) and Memphis, Tenn., had the largest decrease (9.0 percent). For the Top 100 Airports, see on the BTS website.

Table 8: Five largest increases and five largest decreases in 2013 dollars from the first quarter of 2000 to the first quarter of 2013: Dallas Love, Texas., had the largest increase (27.4 percent) and Long Beach, Calif., had the largest decrease (53.0 percent). For the Top 100 Airports, see on the BTS website.

For additional data, see ,  or . Since average fares are based on the 10 percent ticket sample, averages for airports with smaller samples may be less reliable. Fares for Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico airports are not included in rankings but are available on the web page. Second-quarter 2013 average fare data will be released on Oct. 31.

Table 1. 1st Quarter Average Fare 1995-2013, Adjusted for Inflation

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

 Average Fare in 2013 dollars ($)Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (1Q to 1Q) (%)Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (1Q 1995 to 1Q of each year) (%)
1995444--
1996409-7.9-7.9
19974151.5-6.5
19984406.0-0.9
19994502.31.4
20004561.32.7
2001420-7.9-5.4
2002402-4.3-9.5
2003397-1.2-10.6
2004375-5.5-15.5
2005365-2.7-17.8
20063783.6-14.9
2007364-3.7-18.0
20083732.5-16.0
2009335-10.2-24.5
20103576.6-19.6
20113755.0-15.5
20123780.9-14.8
2013(1Q)3790.1-14.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Table 1A. Passenger Airline Revenue from Fares 1990-2013

YearRevenue from Passenger Fares as Percent of Total Scheduled Passenger Airline Revenue* (%)
199087.6
199585.6
200084.1
200182.7
200282.3
200379.5
200476.6
200575.0
200674.4
200774.3
200872.9
200970.2
201071.3
201171.0
201270.3
2013(Q1)70.1

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, P-12

* Scheduled passenger airline total revenue is the sum of the following Schedule P12 accounts with account numbers: Reservation cancellation fees (3919.1), Baggage fees (3906.2), Miscellaneous Operating Revenue (3919.2), Transport-Related Revenue (4898) and Passenger Revenue (Fares) (3901).

Table 2. Percent Changes to 2013 in Average Domestic Average Fares and the Inflation Rate* by Year Since 1995

(1st Quarter to 1st Quarter for fares; Mar to Mar for inflation)

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

Since 1st Quarter ...Duration in YearsAverage Fare in 2013 dollars ($)Percent Change in Average Fare to 1st Quarter 2013 (%)Inflation Rate Change to Mar 2013
2013 379  
201213780.11.5
201123712.24.2
201033517.97.0
2009434310.39.4
200853634.29.0
200763605.113.4
200673770.516.5
200583634.320.4
20049398-4.824.2
200310403-6.126.4
200211417-9.130.2
200112459-17.632.1
200013463-18.136.0
199914468-19.141.1
199815437-13.443.5
199716412-8.245.5
199617425-10.849.5
199518456-17.053.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Rate calculated using Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index

Table 3. Adjusted Average Domestic Airline Fares by Quarter

Average Fare and Percent Change by Quarter

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

Quarter/YearAverage Domestic Fare (2013$)
Average Fare in 2013 dollars ($)Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
2Q 20103592.2
3Q 20103600.4
4Q 2010352-2.4
1Q 20113705.2
2Q 20113771.9
3Q 2011368-2.4
4Q 20113762.1
1Q 20123760.2
2Q 20123852.2
3Q 2012367-4.6
4Q 20123741.9
1Q 20133791.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Note: Fares for the most recent four quarters are in current dollars, not adjusted for inflation.

Table 4. Unadjusted 1st Quarter Average Fares, 1995-2013

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

 Average Fare in current dollars ($)Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (1Q to 1Q) (%)Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (1Q 1995 to 1Q of each year) (%)
1995297  
1996284-4.4-4.4
1997283-0.2-4.5
19983057.52.6
19993328.911.7
20003402.614.6
20013482.217.1
2002320-8.07.8
2003319-0.37.5
20043200.37.9
2005301-5.91.5
20063237.38.9
2007318-1.77.1
20083334.912.3
2009314-5.85.7
20103284.610.5
20113568.419.8
20123734.825.6
2013(Q1)3791.627.5

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Table 5. Unadjusted Average Domestic Airline Fares by Quarter

Average Fare and Percent Change by Quarter

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

Quarter/YearAverage Domestic Fare (current$)
Average Fare in current dollars ($)Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
3Q 2010340-0.3
4Q 2010335-1.5
1Q 20113566.3
2Q 20113703.9
3Q 2011361-2.4
4Q 20113682.1
1Q 20123731.2
2Q 20123853.2
3Q 2012367-4.6
4Q 20123741.9
1Q 20133791.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Table 6. Airports with Highest and Lowest U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fares 1st Quarter 2013

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2012 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

RankOrigin1st Quarter 2013 ($)
 Highest Average Fares 
1Huntsville, AL543
2Cincinnati, OH519
3Houston Bush, TX503
4Washington Dulles493
5Savannah, GA493
 Average Fare at All Airports379
 Lowest Average Fares 
1Atlantic City, NJ169
2Long Beach, CA220
3Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, CA273
4Las Vegas, NV274
5Bellingham, WA283

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Table 7. One-Year Change by Airport: Top 5 Airport Percentage Increases and Decreases in U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fare, 1st Quarter 2012 to 1st Quarter 2013

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2012 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers, Fares Adjusted for Inflation

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

RankOrigin1st Quarter 2012 (2013$)1st Quarter 2013 (2013$)Percent Change (%)
 Largest Increases   
1Knoxville TN41047716.3
2Milwaukee, WI31635813.2
3San Francisco, CA3824148.4
4Lexington, KY4054377.8
5Spokane, WA3603867.4
 Average Fare at All Airports3763790.6
 Largest Decreases   
1Memphis, TN525478-9.0
2Dallas-Fort Worth, TX454416-8.4
3Des Moines, IA438408-6.9
4Colorado Springs, CO414386-6.8
5Washington Reagan National394372-5.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Table 8. 13-Year Change by Airport: Top 5 Percentage Increases and Decreases in U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fare, 2000-2013

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2012 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers, Fares Adjusted for Inflation

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

RankOrigin1st Quarter 2000 (2013$)1st Quarter 2013 (2013$)Percent Change (%)
 Largest Increases   
1Dallas Love, TX22328527.4
2Spokane, WA32538618.9
3Reno, NV28433818.8
4Houston Hobby, TX28933516.0
5Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, CA24227312.6
 Average Fare at All Airports463379-18.2
 Largest Decreases   
1Long Beach, CA468220-53.0
2White Plains, NY826398-51.9
3Denver, CO603321-46.8
4Atlantic City, NJ289169-41.6
5Greenville/Spartanburg, SC703412-41.5

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

For air fares for the following airports, go to

Multiple airport areas for which a single average fare calculation is available are: Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

Airports covered by average fare calculations are:

Alabama.Birmingham, Huntsville
Arizona Phoenix, Tucson
Arkansas:Little Rock
California:Burbank, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles Intl, Oakland,
Ontario/San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Ana (Orange County)
ColoradoColorado Springs, Denver
Connecticut  Hartford
District of ColumbiaDulles, Reagan National
FloridaFt. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola,
Tampa, West Palm Beach
GeorgiaAtlanta, Savannah
IdahoBoise
IllinoisChicago Midway, Chicago O'Hare
IndianaIndianapolis
IowaDes Moines
KansasWichita
KentuckyLexington, Louisville
LouisianaNew Orleans
MainePortland
MarylandBaltimore
MassachusettsBoston
MichiganDetroit, Grand Rapids
MinnesotaMinneapolis/St. Paul
MississippiJackson/Vicksburg
MissouriKansas City, St. Louis
NebraskaOmaha
NevadaLas Vegas, Reno
New HampshireManchester
New JerseyAtlantic City, Newark
New MexicoAlbuquerque
New YorkAlbany, Buffalo, Islip, New York JFK, New York LaGuardia, Rochester, Syracuse, White Plains
  North CarolinaCharlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh/Durham
OhioAkron/Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton
OklahomaOklahoma City, Tulsa
OregonPortland
PennsylvaniaHarrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
Rhode IslandProvidence
South CarolinaCharleston, Greenville-Spartanburg
TennesseeKnoxville, Memphis, Nashville
TexasAustin, Dallas Love, Dallas/Ft. Worth, El Paso, Houston Bush,
 Houston Hobby, San Antonio
UtahSalt Lake City
VermontBurlington
VirginiaNorfolk, Richmond
WashingtonBellingham, Seattle, Spokane
WisconsinMadison, Milwaukee
Updated: Thursday, December 7, 2017
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