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Study: Average airfare costs drop year-over-year?

Study: Average airfare costs drop year-over-year?

According to the CompareCards report on airfare costs, the average airfare at 19 of the 100 largest U.S. airports actually increased year-over-year. The 2018 average domestic itinerary airfare of $350 was the lowest (adjusted for inflation) annual fare since such records were kept in 1995, down 1.8% from the previous low of $356 in 2017. However, the cost of flying hasn’t decreased everywhere.

Airports with Largest Increase in Average Airfare

Rank

Airport

2018
Average
Airfare

2017 Average
Airfare

Percent Change

1

Chicago Midway
International

$306.36

$287.45

6.58%

2

Long Beach Airport

$216.14

$206.28

4.80%

3

Chicago O’Hare
International

$339.36

$325.67

4.20%

4

Dallas/Fort Worth
International

$384.35

$372.55

3.20%

5

James M Cox/Dayton
International

$421.64

$409.24

3.00%

Airports with Largest Decrease in Average Airfare

Rank

Airport

2018
Average
Airfare

2017 Average
Airfare

Percent Change

1

Long Island
MacArthur

$261.18

$319.39

-18.20%

2

Syracuse Hancock
International

$386.85

$435.29

-11.10%

3

Portland
International Jetport

$364.69

$405.49

-10.10%

4

Jacksonville
International

$361.39

$394.53

-8.40%

5

Savannah/Hilton
Head International

$378.65

$411.48

-8.00%

Top 5 Most Expensive US Airports

Rank

Airport

2018
Average
Airfare

2017 Average
Airfare

Percent Change

1

Dane County Regional-
Truax Field

$462.84

$496.78

-6.80%

2

Ted Stevens Anchorage
International

$451.61

$441.65

2.30%

3

McGhee Tyson

$449.20

$465.76

-3.60%

4

Birmingham-
Shuttlesworth
International

$444.61

$469.68

-5.30%

5

Piedmont Triad
International

$435.89

$449.11

-2.90%

Key Findings:

  • Average airfare costs were down in 81 of the 100 largest airports, but there were some exceptions. Chicago-Midway airport saw the largest uptick in average airfare, increasing by nearly 7% from 2017 to 2018, while Chicago’s O’Hare jumped 4%.
  • Long Island MacArthur Airport in Long Island, Syracuse Hancock International and Portland International Airport had the largest decreases in average airfare costs. In each of those airports average airfare costs fell by over 10%.
  • In general, flying out of the largest airports including Dallas/Fort Worth, Ronald Reagan Washington National, LaGuardia and Phoenix Sky Harbor International was more costly in 2018 compared to 2017.

Tips to Offset Travel Costs:

  • Travel Rewards Credit Cards: Some cardholder perks may include free checked bags, companion passes, travel credits & airport lounge access to name a few
  • Plan ahead: airfares tend to increase leading up to the departure date, so its best to start shopping for flights well in advance of flying
  • Flexibility with airports, dates, and number of stops: Being flexible about where and when you fly could equate to big savings.
  • Travel light to avoid baggage fees and other costs. If you’re not getting a free bag benefit through a credit card, try limiting the number of bags you check. Also, pack snacks for the flight.

“Flexibility is the key when it comes to keeping travel costs down,” said CompareCards Chief Industry Analyst Matt Schulz. “If you’re not tied to a specific airport, airline or set of dates and you might even be willing to go a little bit out of your way to get where you’re going, you can really keep costs down. Credit card rewards can certainly help, too, especially cards with points that aren’t tied to any particular airline.”

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