A Better Flight Plan

Industry Insights

Air Travelers Benefit from Robust Industry Competition

Robust competition in the U.S. airline industry has generated unprecedented levels of affordability and accessibility, benefitting the customer at every level. There are few industries that match the airline industry’s record when it comes to consumer choice which is why air travel has transitioned from a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to an indispensable freedom enjoyed by the vast majority of Americans from diverse economic, cultural, racial and geographic backgrounds. 

Consumers are benefitting from fierce competition as new carriers enter the market and existing carriers expand their footprint. In fact, in 2019, there was an average 3.46 competitors on all reported domestic U.S. itineraries, compared to 3.33 in 2000. And, just this year, we have seen two new low-cost carriers burst on the scene and two others go public, injecting even more competition into the U.S. air-travel marketplace. 

This vigorous competition has led to historically low airfares – even as U.S. airlines transported a record 2.5 million passengers each day in 2019. Over the past decade, domestic fares have fallen 24 percent (adjusted for inflation and including ancillaries). Today, airfares remain 16 percent below those pre-pandemic levels. Americans are taking advantage of these low fares by taking to the skies. 

In 1971, only 49 percent of Americans had flown commercially. By 2019, that figure had climbed to 86 percent. And, in 2019, 42 percent of Americans who flew had family incomes under $75,000.

As our nation recovers from the pandemic, U.S. airlines are proud to continue offering competitive fares and unprecedented choice to travelers as they return to the skies to reunite with family, friends and colleagues. We remain committed to transparency regarding fares and continue to be strong advocates for visibility on government taxes and fees. 

Additional data and information regarding the vigorous competition within the air travel competition and the many ways consumers are benefiting is available here.

A4A passenger carriers include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.

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