The average cost of an airline ticket continues its march upward, but it is not deterring consumers to book travel. That is according to new data released on Thursday by the Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC).
According to ARC, the average U.S. round-trip ticket price increased again in April, now totaling $585. That is 8% higher than March, which saw an average ticket price of $540, and 45% higher than the same month last year. It is also the highest average price recorded in the past seven years.
Still, despite the increase, data from April shows that the total air ticket sales are up 156% over April 2021, good news for a U.S. travel industry that continues its recovery to, and past, the numbers it reached in 2019.
In fact, total passenger trips settled by ARC in April 2022 increased 52% year over year from 14.7 million to 22.5 million, including a 41% increase to 14.5 million for domestic trips and a 78% increase to 7.9 million for international trips.
There are some decreases in ARC’s data—month-over-month, total sales decreased 1%, as did total passenger trips (down 10%), U.S. domestic trips (down 11%), and international trips (down 8%). However, according to ARC, those decreases are due to typical seasonal cycles and are actually trending better than they had in previous years.
“April’s month-over-month sales and passenger totals are in line with pre-pandemic travel trends. We continue to monitor the impact higher airfares have on traveler demand,” said Steve Solomon, vice president of global customers and data products at ARC.
“Pre-pandemic, we typically saw a decrease in passenger trips from March to April and an even more profound drop in sales compared to what we saw this year.”
The demand will have to remain consistent for the travel industry to reach those 2019 levels—the U.S. Travel Association recently said it does not believe the industry will reach those levels until 2024 and TSA passenger data shows that, even with daily checkpoint numbers exceeding 2 million regularly, there is still a 15% gap from those 2019 levels.