ARC Finds Airfares Roughly Same Despite Trip Length

2016 News Releases

ARC Finds Airfares Roughly Same Despite Trip Length or Within 2-Weeks of Flight

Top 15 Business Travel Destinations and 25 Million Tickets Examined for Study

DENVER. – July 19, 2016 - Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC), the premier driver of intelligence and commerce in the air travel industry, released a report today challenging the long-held belief that round-trip airfares are less expensive if they are connected to a longer trip. The study also found that ticket purchases made shorter than two days before a flight no longer carry as hefty a premium over a longer advanced purchase as in the past. The study was unveiled today at the Global Business Travel Association Convention in Denver.

ARC analyzed 27,287,300 tickets for travel to the top 15 business destinations, sold by more than 2,000 corporate travel agencies, and found that the average premium paid for tickets purchased last minute vs. tickets bought three to seven days out was, on average, seven percent, or roughly $47. The premium, though, soared more than 50 percent, or about $250, for tickets purchased zero to two days prior vs. a 14-day or longer advanced purchase.

The study's results also questioned the widely held belief that a longer length of stay yielded a less expensive airline ticket. Length of stay from one to four nights was examined, excluding most Saturday overnight trips to focus on only business travel. Although there was a noticeable difference in fares between a one- to two-night stay vs. three to four, the difference has steadily decreased since 2014 to the point where the premium on an average ticket for a one night stay has dropped 80 percent vs. the average ticket price for longer stays only a few years ago.

"Some of the assumptions of the past, such as longer trips will save significantly on airfare, are no longer true," said Chuck Thackston, ARC's managing director of enterprise information. "Additionally, with the findings related to advance purchase windows, corporate travel managers can have some increased flexibility to meet their travelers' needs without making such a huge dent in their travel budgets—especially for last minute and short-duration trips."

"Impact of Advance Purchase and Length-of-Stay on Average Ticket Prices in Top Business Destinations" is available for download at


An industry leader in air travel distribution and intelligence, ARC settled $94.8 billion in ticket transactions in 2018 between airlines and travel agencies, representing more than 295 million passenger trips. ARC provides flexible distribution solutions, innovative technology and access to the world’s most comprehensive air ticket transaction data, helping the global air travel community connect, grow and thrive. For more information, please visit