US Travel Agency Air Ticket Sales Show Initial Signs of Recovery in May

2020 News Releases

US Travel Agency Air Ticket Sales Show Initial Signs of Recovery in May

Domestic Trips Gain Traction, With Slower Growth for International Trips

ARLINGTON, Va. – June 23, 2020 Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) today released data showing that ARC-accredited travel agencies experienced a 69% month-over-month increase in net sales from April to May 2020, showing preliminary signs of air travel recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Year-over-year net sales were still down 102%, with the consolidated dollar value of tickets transacted by agencies last month totaling -$198 million, compared to $9.2 billion in May 2019.*

Month over month, May 2020 results also show:

  • A 67% increase in number of passenger trips; and
  • U.S. domestic trips and international trips up 85% and 30%, respectively.

Compared to 2019, the total number of passenger trips settled by ARC in May were down 87% YOY, from 27,417,558 to 3,640,548. U.S. domestic trips decreased 84% YOY to 2.7 million, while international trips numbered 925,564, a 91% decrease YOY. The average U.S. round-trip ticket price decreased from $511 in 2019 to $353 in May 2020.

Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD)** sales showed a decrease YOY as well, down 81% to $1,435,567. EMD transaction volume experienced a slightly smaller decrease, down 76% YOY in April 2020, totaling 28,588.

More detailed information is available on ARC’s website.

Notes for Editors:

*Ticket Sales

  • Results are based on monthly sales data ending May 31, 2020, from 11,679 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