Average domestic airfares in the U.S. dropped by 0.2% to $374 in the fourth quarter, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. When adjusted for inflation, airfares have dropped 13.1% since 1995.
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An analysis by USA Today Network on domestic air ticket prices at the 100 busiest U.S. airports has found that airfares rose an average of 6.5%, after inflation, between the first quarter of 2005 and the first quarter of 2013. Some airfare increases were attributed to a decline in domestic airline seats as a result of mergers by major carriers. Airports that saw an increase in airline seats, including airports in Denver, San Francisco and Charlotte, N.C., saw an average 18% decline in domestic ticket prices.
Travelers in the U.S. paid an average airfare of $379 for the first quarter, a mere $1 more than the same quarter last year. When adjusted for inflation, the average airfare has dropped by 19.1% since 1999.
The average domestic airfare increased to $367 in the third quarter of 2012, compared to $361 in the third quarter of 2011. However, average domestic airfare dropped from $385 in the second quarter, according to statistics from the Department of Transportation.
The average domestic airfare, adjusted for inflation and minus extra fees, has dropped 21% since 1995, the Department of Transportation says, as the industry continues to suffer from a cost-intensive business structure and uncontrollable external factors. This has led to $55 billion in losses in the past decade and forced carriers to look to various ancillary charges to shore up revenue. Passenger tickets make up 71% of U.S. airlines' overall passenger revenue, dropping from 88% in 1990, the DOT reports.