Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) this week released data showing U.S. travel agency air ticket sales totaled $8.4 billion in February 2023, a 54 percent year-over-year increase from February 2022. In fact, the February 2023 results represent the second-highest post-pandemic monthly sales total, only behind May 2022—which was the first full month in which the mask mandate on public transportation (including aircraft) was lifted.
Total passenger trips settled by ARC in February 2023 increased 13 percent year-over-year to 22.3 million. International trips increased 29 percent, while domestic trips increased 4 percent over the same period. The average U.S. round-trip air travel ticket price was $571 in February, which was a 23 percent increase from the previous year ($464) and an 8 percent month-over-month increase from January ($528).
In addition, ancillary sales—fees for products and services like upgraded seats, checked bags, an unaccompanied minor, pet-in-cabin, etc.—increased 134 percent year-over-year to $21.8 million. Ancillary transactions increased 84 percent over the same period.
That said, month-over-month, February 2023 results showed:
- Total sales were flat
- Total passenger trips decreased 7 percent
- U.S. domestic trips decreased 9 percent
- International trips decreased 3 percent
Not to worry, however. Steve Solomon, chief commercial officer at ARC, says despite the flat sales and decrease in passenger trips (both domestic and international), overall demand remains stronger than 2022. He added: “February followed pre-pandemic seasonality trends, which could indicate further industry normalization as airlines prepare for the busy spring and summer travel months.”