In fact, airfare is getting cheaper. When you adjust for inflation, the average round-trip domestic airfare in 1995 would have cost you $480, according to government data. In 2018, it cost you just an inflation-adjusted $346 — which means it’s fallen more than 27%. What’s more, it’s been falling for the past few years, dropping from $398 in 2015 to $346 last year.
It wasn’t always so cheap to fly. The first commercial flight — which took off from Florida 105 years ago this January — cost $400 when it was purchased. But adjust that for inflation and you’re looking at more than $10,000 to be in the air for just 23 minutes.
In other words, though you may not feel like it, you’re getting those plane tickets for a steal these days. But it often comes at consumers’ expense. Seats are getting smaller — with airlines now cramming 10%-12% more seats on aircraft than they did in the past, says Robert Mann, the founder of R.W. Mann & Company and an airline industry analyst. On top of that, they’re filling flights to the max: Occupancy now approaches 90% on average, he says.