April 21, 2024

Economy airfares are rising, but travel is still a good deal


It’s true – airfares are going up, but not as much as the price of other goods and services.

“While airfare has risen in nominal terms in (the) U.S. and Europe, consumers will appreciate that the increases are less than other consumables,” Jeremy Bowen, CEO of aviation analytics company Cirium, said in a statement. “Cirium’s data teams will continue to monitor the impact on fares of increased capacity in the market, despite challenges related to the availability of aircraft, be it due to groundings, engine issues, or supply chain constraints.”

According to Cirium’s data, the average domestic airfare in the U.S. was $179.25 in 2023, 9% more than in 2019.

Cirium said it compared those figures to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation data, which showed overall inflation at 19% in the same period.

Transatlantic airfare was also up in 2023, at $435.17 for a one-way economy ticket, compared to $381.08 in 2019, a 14% increase – still below inflation.

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Premium tickets have actually gone down in relative terms across the Atlantic. In 2023, a business class ticket was 3% cheaper on average than it was in 2019.

Business travel has been slower to recover post-pandemic than leisure, which may mean some airlines are discounting their business class tickets to help fill the cabins.

For travelers, the price adjustments mean flying in any cabin is a relatively good deal, since prices in other sectors of the economy are rising more quickly.

Zach Wichter is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in New York. You can reach him at zwichter@usatoday.com

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