How the Cost of Airfare Has Changed Over the Past 50 Years
Air travel has changed a lot since 1963.
Not only has in-flight service been knocked down a notch —as we can see in these vintage pics — but flight time on many routes has increased as well. As for ticket prices, the story is more complicated.
MooseRoots, a Graphiq site, compared the average price of domestic airfares at five different airports since 1963 and found that, with inflation, ticket costs haven’t gone up a lot.Average Price of a Flight in the United States, 1963 - 2015 | MooseRoots
MooseRoots looked at data from BTS, for airfare data back to 1995, and data from the Consumer Price Index and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate airfares before that. The data does not include average increases from extra fees (airlines' current favorite revenue driver), but it does provide a good picture of how airfare prices have trended.
Fifty-three years ago, the average cost of a flight from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport cost $41, or the equivalent of $323 in today’s dollars. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), last year's average was $392.
LaGuardia Airport saw similar numbers as Atlanta with an average cost difference of $72 after adjusting for inflation. Meanwhile, Chicago saw even less of a difference. A flight in 1963 cost $43 ($340 in today's dollars), and airfare was only $20 more in 2015.
Los Angeles International Airport had the biggest difference of all. An average ticket cost $38 in 1963 ($299 today) and average airfare last year was $399.