May US Travel Agency Air Ticket Sales Increase 1,914% Year Over Year

2021 News Releases

May US Travel Agency Air Ticket Sales Increase 1,914% Year Over Year

Air Travel Recovery Strengthens During Fifth Consecutive Month of Growth

ARLINGTON, Va. – June 17, 2021 Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) today released data showing net sales from ARC-accredited travel agencies totaling $3.6 billion in May 2021, a 1,914% increase compared to May 2020, when refunds and reduced travel bookings outpaced new ticket sales.* The total represents an 18% month-over-month increase from April 2021 and the fifth consecutive month of sales and passenger trip growth.

Month over month, May 2021 results showed:

  • Total passenger trips increased 7%;
  • U.S. domestic trips up 9%; and
  • International trips up 4%.

“Summer leisure travel continues to boost new ticket purchases. In May, we also saw corporate travel pick up more than in previous months,” said Chuck Thackston, managing director of data science and research at ARC. “In the coming months we’ll be watching how the loosening of travel restrictions in Europe impacts international travel originating from the U.S.”

Total passenger trips settled by ARC in May 2021 increased 336% year over year from 3,640,550 to 15,869,655. International passenger trips showed a greater percentage increase YOY than U.S. domestic trips, up 402% compared to 313%. U.S. domestic passenger trips continued to outpace international trips, totaling 11.2 million compared to 4.6 million. The average U.S. round-trip ticket price increased to $432 in May 2021 from $353 in May 2020.

Year over year, EMD sales for May 2021 increased 386% to $6,979,286, while EMD transactions increased 423% to 149,440.

More detailed information is available on ARC’s website.

Notes for Editors:

*Ticket Sales

  • Results are based on monthly sales data ending May 31, 2021, from 10,963 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

Connect with ARC


Randy Spoon