By Nathalie Voit
High airfare costs have prompted Americans to spend less on domestic air travel, data from Adobe Digital Insights published May 12 found.
In a report, Adobe said that spending on U.S. air travel fell 13% last month from $8.8 billion in March as April airline bookings declined 17%. Overall, consumers spent $1 billion less on domestic airfare in April than the previous month.
Even with prices rising, demand for U.S. air travel nonetheless remains resilient. In April, domestic flight bookings were up 5% relative to the same period in 2019. Data from Adobe also showed consumers were willing to spend considerably more on airfare in 2022 despite receiving “the same amount of service.” While bookings were up just 5%, online spending on U.S. plane tickets surged 23% last month over the same month in 2019.
Prices were also significantly higher, with the average U.S. flight ticket in April 27% more expensive over a three-year time frame. Month-over-month, airfare costs increased 8%. April’s price surge is the third consecutive month of price increases over pre-pandemic levels. U.S. airline fares in March shot up 20% compared with 2019, while prices in February spiked 5%.
Inflation in the airline industry is suggestive of broader price surges across the economy. According to the April 2022 Consumer Price Index, airline fares in April soared 18.6%, the largest 1-month increase since record-keeping of the series began in 1963. The index for airline fares (which includes data from international commercial flights) rose 33.3% year-over-year, the Labor Department said.