US agents’ flight sales hit record $8.9 billion in January

US travel agency sales of flights hit a record $8.9 billion at the start of this year, surpassing the level of January 2020, according to the latest Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) data.

The figure was up 7% on January 2023, with passenger bookings also up 7% year on year at 25.6 million, and bookings of international flights up 6% year on year.

Booking numbers remained down on the January 2020 figure of 28.3 million, but the average ticket price was up 3% year on year at $546 and 14% higher than in 2020. Agency ancillary transactions were also up 39% year on year and 37% in value.

ARC chief commercial officer Steve Solomon hailed “a promising start” to the year and noted: “Business travel also had a solid month with corporate travel agency trips increasing 7% year on year.”

In 2019, US agency sales of flights hit a record $97.4 billion in value and more than 302 million trips. Last year, passenger bookings revived to almost 269 million, worth $95.3 billion.

The ARC handles the billing and settlement of flight sales by agents in the US. It is owned by a coalition of leading US carriers and Air Canada.

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