US Travel Agency Air Ticket Sales Show Seasonal Trend in December

2021 News Releases

US Travel Agency Air Ticket Sales Show Seasonal Trend in December

Monthly Sales Declined 11% While Passenger Trips Showed Smaller Decrease Compared to 2019

ARLINGTON, Va. – January 14, 2021 Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) today released data showing net sales from ARC-accredited travel agencies totaling $1 billion in December 2020, reflecting a typical seasonal decline in bookings at the end of the calendar year.* Year over year, December sales were down 83% compared to December 2019, when sales totaled $6.1 billion.

Month over month, December 2020 results showed:

  • A 6% decrease in the total number of passenger trips;
  • U.S. domestic trips down 9%; and
  • International trips down 1%.

“While overall trips remain down as air travel continues its recovery, this past December performed better than December 2019 from a month-over-month standpoint,” said Chuck Thackston, ARC’s managing director of data science and research. “In 2019, total passenger trips from November to December were down 10%, but in 2020 that decline was only 6%. That’s an encouraging sign as we look to recovery progressing in 2021.”

Total passenger trips settled by ARC in December were down 66% year over year, from 19,344,759 to 6,512,647. U.S. domestic trips were down 64% to 4.2 million, while international trips totaled 2.3 million, a 70% decrease YOY. The average U.S. round-trip ticket price decreased from $476 in December 2019 to $336 in December 2020.

Year over year, EMD sales for December decreased by 61% to $2,657,726, while EMD transactions were down 56% to 53,431.

More detailed information is available on ARC’s website.

Notes for Editors:

*Ticket Sales

  • Results are based on monthly sales data ending December 31, 2020, from 11,172 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.

Hear from Chuck Thackston in the video below:


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