Record March For US Travel Agencies’: March Airline Ticket Sales Exceed $9 Billion

Monthly ARC data released for March 2024 show record numbers for U.S. airline ticket sales, proving that demand in air travel is still very strong within the consumers.

Mock up of an airline ticket boarding pass.

The Data

Following a record-breaking February, airline ticket sales tallied up to $9.4 billion for U.S. travel agencies in March, according to data released by Airlines Reporting Corp. ARC on Thursday. The record breaking sales number comes with an average ticket price of $571, down slightly from February 2024 and 2 percent higher than March 2023.

Although the sales figure represents a 3 percent decrease from March 2023, the total airline ticket sales and passenger trips for the first quarter of 2024 were higher than the first quarter of 2023 by 3 percent and 5 percent.

The 25.6 million total passenger trips for March signaled a 5 percent increase month over month, but a 1 percent decrease year over year. The 15.8 million U.S. domestic trips and the 9.8 million international trips both climbed 5 percent from the previous month, but were up just 1 percent and down 4 percent from March 2023.

“Despite March’s slight decrease in year-over-year sales totals, airlines and U.S. travel agencies experienced a positive first quarter in 2024,” Steve Solomon, chief commercial officer at ARC

“U.S. domestic travel demand powered much of this growth. With the summer travel season nearing, the strong dollar is helping drive demand to international destinations by U.S.-based travelers.” Solomon added.

Data released by ARC show March ancillary sales which include fees for products and services like checked bags, upgraded seats, unaccompanied minor, pet in cabin, oversized luggage, and many more fee based items – increased 21 percent year over year to $32 million. The total number of ancillary transactions skyrocketed 43% to 543,211 over the same period.

The results released by ARC are based on monthly airline ticket sales data ending March 31, 2024, being pulled from roughly 10,325 corporate and retail travel agency offices, satellite ticketing offices, consolidators, and OTA’s (online travel agencies).

What is Airlines Reporting Corporation. (ARC)

Airlines Reporting Corporation regulates and handles transactions between airlines and US-based travel agencies, acting almost as an escrow agent. ARC is owned by a co-operative of nine major airlines and partners with nearly 500 airlines. Aside from ticket transaction settlement services, it also accredits travel agencies and provides access to aggregated air transaction data globally. Agencies that do not have ARC accreditation but still desire to sell air tickets rely on a consolidator or a hosting agency with accreditation for their ticketing.

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