Understanding realities of dropping air ticket prices and surging capacity

The year 2016 was another banner year for air travelers. Ticket prices continued a three year decline and capacity continued to expand, meaning travelers today have an overwhelming number of options to more destinations for lower prices than at any point in the recent past.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), global air travel, as measured by revenue passenger kilometers, rose more than 7 percent in 2015 over 2014, and was on track to surpass these numbers again in 2016

Last year we said air travel was “flying high.” This year we’ll go a step further and declare that we are flying at an even higher altitude with great deals for air travel for consumers.

At Expedia, we see these big-picture shifts every minute of every single day. Every time a traveler comes to our website or opens our app and runs an itinerary, we compare billions of pieces of information and show the best of them in a search results page.

On just Expedia.com, we have created more than 335 million itineraries in our first 20 years; sending folks to 1,820 cities within 203 countries. Additionally, our partners at Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) have information on almost 12.5 billion passenger flights, providing a detailed view of air travel.

There’s a lot of data behind these numbers—an overwhelming amount, really, for a traveler to make sense of or find useful. But we’re data geeks. And we love a challenge, especially if it involves crunching numbers.

Using science and travel savvy, every year we take the figures and make them work for travelers in the form of useful information and relevant travel deals that help them feel confident to click, book, and go with Expedia. Our ultimate goal is to help travelers feel informed and empowered to get past travel decisionmaking and move into what we like to call travel moment-making.

With that in mind this report looks back at ARC worldwide air travel data and analyzes exactly how good this past year has been for travelers. The document generally uses data from January 1, 2016 through October 24, 2016, and concludes with a few bold predictions heading into 2017. Overall, it presents several key takeaways:

  • Average air ticket prices (ATP) continue to drop around the world, making now a stellar time to fly.
  • Generally, the lowest ticket prices can be found if you purchase the tickets on weekends, more than 21 days in advance.
  • In most parts of the world, trips with Saturday-night stays generally have the lowest prices.
  • Increased competition is a good thing for travelers; more flights from more airlines mean more options for consumers.
  • Bundling your travel products by booking more than one at the same time can provide big savings.

Click here to read the Full Report from ARC and Expedia