Average Domestic Airfare: Relatively unchanged from this time last year

Here’s another example of why you probably shouldn’t complain about high airfares. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics released its 2013 first quarter airfare data on Wednesday, and it shows fares are considerably lower than they were 15 years ago.

I suppose you could be upset that fares have risen slightly since 2007. But it should have been expected that fares would climb slightly once the economy improved.

Below is the data:

Table 1. 1st Quarter Average Fare 1995-2013, Adjusted for Inflation 

Average Fare in 2013 dollars ($) Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (1Q to 1Q) (%) Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (1Q 1995 to 1Q of each year) (%)
1995 444
1996 409 -7.9 -7.9
1997 415 1.5 -6.5
1998 440 6.0 -0.9
1999 450 2.3 1.4
2000 456 1.3 2.7
2001 420 -7.9 -5.4
2002 402 -4.3 -9.5
2003 397 -1.2 -10.6
2004 375 -5.5 -15.5
2005 365 -2.7 -17.8
2006 378 3.6 -14.9
2007 364 -3.7 -18.0
2008 373 2.5 -16.0
2009 335 -10.2 -24.5
2010 357 6.6 -19.6
2011 375 5.0 -15.5
2012 378 0.9 -14.8
2013(1Q) 379 0.1 -14.7


Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers 

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Allegiant Air: What made the airline decide to start LAX-HNL?

Allegiant Air is entering the crowded Los Angeles-Honolulu market.

Allegiant Air is entering the crowded Los Angeles-Honolulu market. Above, a picture of one of the airline’s MD-80s. It’s using 757 on the Honolulu route.

Allegiant Air has made a fortune – more than 40 consecutive profitable quarters  – by following a relatively simple business plan: Take travelers from small towns and fly them to the beach or the desert.

Allegiant  has some interesting cities in its route structure, including Belleville, Ill., Bismarck, N.D., Casper, Wy., and Grand Island, Neb. The trick is to tie those cities with places like Los Angeles, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Orlando.

So why, then, did Allegiant recently announce plans to fly from Los Angeles International Airport – one of the world’s busiest airports – to Honolulu. Is this a change in the carrier’s business plan? I wrote about the issue for in Tuesday’s newspaper. 

Here’s what Jessica Wheeler, the airline’s spokeswoman, had to say about the new route. She compared it to the airline’s existing Las Vegas – Honolulu flight, which she said has been performing well. That was one of the first flights Allegiant started between two major cities.

“What we found was we were able to do it at a price point that no one else was able to do,” Wheeler said. “We were able to reach this under served community.”

But Wheeler said it’s wrong to think that Allegiant is changing its  way of doing business. “I think that this is complementary to our business model,” she said, noting that the smaller airports will remain the focus for the airline.

The new LAX-Hawaii service will begin in October. But don’t expect to it last the entire year. Wheeler said Allegiant at first expected demand would be strong year round for Hawaii flights. But instead it found demand was much higher in the winter.

Allegiant does not like flying planes that aren’t full. That’s not profitable. So the airline likely will use its 757s elsewhere next summer. And then maybe it will put them back in Hawaii.

“What we are seeing is Hawaii is a lot more seasonal than we expected,” she said. “It’s looking  a little more like Florida and Las Vegas. But we’re not afraid of seasonality. We are not afraid of being flexible.”

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American Airlines receives its first A319

American received its first Airbus A319 aircraft on Tuesday in Germany.

American received its first Airbus A319 aircraft on Tuesday in Germany.

It probably takes a special type of aviation geek to appreciate the above photograph.

But that’s the first American Airlines Airbus A319, which was delivered on Tuesday in Hamburg, Germany. You’ll see in this picture it’s still wearing its European registration, D-AVYQ.

American has not had an Airbus plane in its fleet since it retired its widebody A300s in 2009. Now, the airline has about 260 Airbus planes on order, with a mixture of A319s, A320s and A321s.

We won’t see the A319s in Los Angeles at first. But starting in 2014, American plans to put the new A321s on the Los Angeles to New York JFK route.

Those will be specially configured planes with three classes of service – first, business and economy. Early renderings (such as the one depicted in the first half of the video below) suggest it will be an impressive product.

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LAX wants your help to plan opening ceremony for new terminal

The Great Hall of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Photo: Brad Graverson/Staff Photographer

The Great Hall of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Photo: Brad Graverson/Staff Photographer

Put away those oversize scissors. Los Angeles International Airport wants to do better.

In hopes of holding a more fun event to open its new international terminal later this year, Los Angeles International Airport is asking the public to submit creative and “out-of-the-box” ideas for the grand opening ceremony. The airport plans to open Phase 1 of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at some point in September.

Details on what the airport wants from the public are scarce. But the release did recommend contestants not send any ideas that use large scissors. I guess those are too cliche.

Have an idea? Send an email to laxpr@lawa.org by Sunday, August 11. If your concept is used, you’ll receive an LAX lift basket. No word on what’s inside.

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Boeing 747 Video: Check out the view from the landing gear

Ever wonder about the view from a 747’s landing gear?

OK. You probably haven’t. But that doesn’t make the video above any less interesting. It’s especially cool at about the one-minute mark when the plane gets airborne. It’s a view you don’t usually see.

Amazing as it might sounds, people occasionally try to hitch a ride in an aircraft wheel well. And it generally does not end well.

A few days ago, there was the guy who died on a British Airways A320. He was discovered at London Heathrow after a flight from Turkey.

Then there was this guy, who authorities believe hid on another British Airways plane from North Africa in 2012. But just about the time of landing at Heathrow, he fell from the sky and onto a residential street.

After that incident, the BBC did a nice story on whether people can actually survive these flights. The answer is yes, though not very often. U.S. Federal Aviation Administration officials told the BBC that about a quarter of people caught as stowaways have actually survived. That, of course, means 75 percent die.

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