September US Travel Agency Air Ticket Sales Surpass $1 Billion

2020 News Releases

September US Travel Agency Air Ticket Sales Surpass $1 Billion

Net Sales Exceed Billion Dollar Mark for First Time Since Pandemic Began

ARLINGTON, Va. – October 15, 2020 Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) today released data showing net sales from ARC-accredited travel agencies totaling nearly $1.2 billion in September 2020. This is the first time sales have surpassed $1 billion since March 2020. The total represents a 56% increase in month-over-month sales, up from $751 million in August 2020.* The industry continues to recover from the effects of COVID-19, with total dollar volume down 85% from $7.8 billion in September 2019.

Month over month, September 2020 results show:

  • A 25% increase in the total number of passenger trips;
  • U.S. domestic trips up 24%; and
  • International trips up 29%.

Additional ARC data shows online travel agency (OTA) bookings leading the recovery when compared to sales for corporate and leisure travel agencies. At the end of September, tickets sold through OTAs were down 51% YOY, outpacing corporate and leisure agency bookings, which were down 86% and 71% YOY, respectively. All three segments have shown increases since dipping slightly at the beginning of August.

The total number of passenger trips settled by ARC was down 69% year over year for September, from 24,465,077 to 7,610,632. U.S. domestic trips decreased 65% YOY to 5.6 million, while international trips totaled 2 million, a 78% decrease YOY. The average U.S. round-trip ticket price decreased from $496 in September 2019 to $343 in September 2020.

Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD)** sales decreased YOY by 66% to $2,303,760, while EMD transactions decreased by 50% YOY in September, totaling 55,036. Both totals mark month-over-month increases from August 2020, up 26% and 55%, respectively.

More detailed information is available on ARC’s website.

Notes for Editors:

*Ticket Sales

  • Results are based on monthly sales data ending September 30, 2020, from 11,486 U.S. retail and corporate travel agency locations, satellite ticket printing offices and online travel agencies. Results do not include sales of tickets purchased directly from airlines.
    • Average ticket price (in USD) for a round-trip ticket settled through ARC for an itinerary that included only U.S. domestic travel.
    • Passenger trips include the total number of passengers taking a trip from one airport to another using either direct or connecting flights. Newly issued trips are added, and refunded trips are deducted to provide a net view of traveling passengers.
    • U.S. Domestic passenger trips include the total number settled through ARC where the itinerary is wholly within the U.S. International passenger trips include the total number settled through ARC where some or all of the travel occurs to airports outside the U.S. or originates outside the U.S.
    • Total sales are equal to the total amount paid for a ticket, which includes taxes and fees.

**Electronic Miscellaneous Documents (EMD)

  • Includes fees for products and services such as upgraded seats, checked luggage, an unaccompanied minor, pet-in-cabin, etc.


ARC accelerates the growth of global air travel by delivering forward-looking travel data, flexible distribution services and other innovative industry solutions. We are a leading travel intelligence company that possesses the world’s largest, most comprehensive global airline ticket dataset, including more than 15 billion passenger flights representing 490 airlines and 230 countries and territories. Our solutions and expertise strengthen economies and enrich lives by connecting stakeholders across the travel ecosystem. For more information, visit

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Randy Spoon