Travel Agency Air Ticket Sales for 2023 Fall Just Short of 2019 Record

U.S.-based travel agency air ticket sales for 2023 totaled $95.3 billion, according to Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC). The 2023 total is the highest since the record $97.4 billion in 2019 and a 16 percent increase from 2022.

Looking at other year-long numbers, total passenger trips (+ 9 percent)—including domestic (+5 percent) and international (+15 percent)—were also up over 2022. Ancillary sales, which include fees for products and services, such as upgraded seats, checked bags, an unaccompanied minor, pet-in-cabin, etc., were up 71 percent over last year.

It’s not surprising to see the large increase in international travel (when compared to domestic travel), as more countries reopened following the COVID-19 pandemic and more people became comfortable traveling further abroad. Similar numbers were found by Omnitrak in its “TravelTrak America” survey, which was hosted last month. It found intent to travel internationally within the next six months has increased for three straight years—from 15 percent in December 2021, to 18 percent in 2022, to 22 percent in 2023. At the same time, intent to travel domestically dropped in those same years—from 87 to 84 to 82 percent, respectively.

December, according to ARC, closed out the year with $5.7 billion in U.S. travel agency air ticket sales, a 5 percent increase year-over-year. December’s ancillary sales increased 32 percent year-over-year to $20.6 million, while ancillary transactions increased 36 percent to $329,475 over the same period. Total sales, total passenger trips (including both domestic and international) and the average ticket price ($542) for December 2023 were all up slightly compared to December 2022.

Source: ARC

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