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Average U.S. domestic air fare decreased to $361 in Q1

Staff Writer |
The average domestic air fare decreased to $361 in the first quarter of 2016, down 7.8 percent from $392 in the first quarter of 2015.

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This is the lowest level since 2010, adjusted for inflation, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported.

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 accounted for 33 percent of fares calculated for the first quarter of 2016. 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 fees for optional services, such as baggage fees. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares.” Constant 2016 dollars are used for inflation adjustment.

First-quarter fares rose 7.9 percent from the recession-affected low of $351 in 2009 to the first quarter of 2011. Since 2011, first-quarter fares fell 4.7 percent to 2016.

The first-quarter 2016 fare was down 24.6 percent from the average fare of $479 in 1999, the highest inflation-adjusted first quarter average fare in the 21 years since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995.

Since 1995, inflation-adjusted fares declined 22.7 percent compared to a 57.3 percent increase in overall consumer prices.

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