ARC: U.S. Travel Agency Airline Tickets Sales Up 69% in 2021

According to data released by Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC), airline tickets sold by ARC-accredited travel agencies totaled $39.8 billion in 2021, a 69 percent increase from the $23 billion total in 2020. The number of passenger trips in 2021 grew by 50 percent year over year, totaling 174 million compared to 116 million in 2020.

Results comparing December 2021 to December 2020 revealed that sales totaled $3.1 billion in December 2021, a 196 percent year-over-year increase. Total passenger trips settled by ARC increased 103 percent year over year from 6.5 million to 13.2 million. U.S. domestic passenger trips increased 116 percent to 9.2 million, while international passenger trips increased 79 percent to 4.1 million. The average U.S. round-trip ticket price was $460, a 37 percent increase from $336 in December 2020. The December 2021 price was down 4 percent from pre-pandemic levels in the same month; this is the closest average ticket prices have been to 2019 levels since February 2020.

Despite year-over-year growth trends, December’s results marked a month-over-month decrease compared to November 2021 as total sales decreased 30 percent; total passenger trips were down 21 percent; U.S. domestic trips decreased 20 percent; and international trips decreased 24 percent.

“The end-of-year decrease we typically see in sales and trips was more pronounced this year with consumers worried about the Omicron variant,” said Steve Solomon, vice president of global sales, marketing, operations and customer experience at ARC. “Total sales showed a similar decrease in the late summer as Delta variant case counts grew. We expect a continued recovery across air travel in 2022, with online travel agencies recovering to pre-pandemic levels this spring as consumers continue to power the recovery.”

December 2021 EMD sales increased 171 percent to $7,203,788. EMD transactions increased 164 percent to 141,224.

Source: ARC

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