US travel agency sales hit highest total since pre-pandemic
Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) revealed its latest data showing that air ticket sales from ARC-accredited travel agencies totaled $5.4 billion in February 2022, representing a remarkable 253% increase from a year-on-year compared to February 2021.
According to ARC, total net sales mark the highest level since February 2020 just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when travel was essentially halted. The previous pandemic peak in sales was $4.4 billion in November 2021.
Month-over-month, total sales increased 48%, total passenger travel jumped 21%, U.S. domestic travel increased 17% and international travel 28% . Year-over-year, the total number of passenger trips settled by the ARC in February 2022 increased by 114%, from 9.3 million to 19.8 million. Growth was aided by a 158% increase in international travel. US domestic travel increased 96% year over year to 12.9 million.
Nonetheless, flight prices are up from this time a year ago. The average round-trip ticket price in the United States in February 2022 was $464, which represents a 34% increase from $346 in February 2021. However, the 2022 total was still down 5% compared to the pre-pandemic February monthly average of $488.
February 2022 Sales of Miscellaneous Electronic Documents or EMDs – including charges for products and services such as upgraded seats, checked baggage, unaccompanied minor, in-cabin pet, etc. – rose 202% year over year to $9,298,339. EMD transactions increased 175% to 177,014 over the same period, ARC reported.
“Leisure demand approaching pre-pandemic levels and accelerating business travel bookings fueled another month of strong sales,” said Steve Solomon, vice president of global sales, marketing, operations and customer experience at ARC, in a statement. “With the U.S. domestic travel market steadily growing, we are watching the war in Europe and its impact on the strong growth in international travel to start the year.”
Click here to see more ARC data.