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US travel agency air ticket sales show seasonal trend in December

US travel agencies' December 2020 air ticket sales were down 83% compared to December 2019, when sales totaled $6.1 billion

US travel agency air ticket sales show seasonal trend in December

Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) today released data showing net sales from ARC-accredited travel agencies totaling $1 billion in December 2020, reflecting a typical seasonal decline in bookings at the end of the calendar year. Year over year, December sales were down 83% compared to December 2019, when sales totaled $6.1 billion.

Month over month, December 2020 results showed:

  • A 6% decrease in the total number of passenger trips;
  • U.S. domestic trips down 9%; and
  • International trips down 1%.

“While overall trips remain down as air travel continues its recovery, this past December performed better than December 2019 from a month-over-month standpoint,” said Chuck Thackston, ARC’s managing director of data science and research. “In 2019, total passenger trips from November to December were down 10%, but in 2020 that decline was only 6%. That’s an encouraging sign as we look to recovery progressing in 2021.”


Total passenger trips settled by ARC in December were down 66% year over year, from 19,344,759 to 6,512,647. U.S. domestic trips were down 64% to 4.2 million, while international trips totaled 2.3 million, a 70% decrease YOY. The average U.S. round-trip ticket price decreased from $476 in December 2019 to $336 in December 2020. 

Year over year, EMD sales for December decreased by 61% to $2,657,726, while EMD transactions were down 56% to 53,431. 

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