Airline ticket demand appears to be declining

Consumer demand for air travel fell significantly in April, according to a Bank of America analysis of credit card spending.

ARC data also suggests that airline tickets sales are moderating.

Bank of America’s May 10 Consumer Checkpoint newsletter singled out slowing expenditures on airlines as the largest driver in a broader slowdown of consumer spending on service sector items. For the month, per-household expenditures related to airlines were up just 0.9% from 2022. That’s a drop of 4.5 percentage points compared with year-over-year figures from March. 

Data on air travel sales settled by ARC also shows some softening over the past four weeks. For the seven days that ended May 14, sales volume in dollars was ahead of the 2022 level by 4.4%, while the total number of tickets sold was up 5%. Those numbers represent a significant drop from a few weeks ago.  For the seven days ending April 23, sales volume topped 2022 by 12%, while the total number of ticket sales was 7.8% above 2022. 

Airlines have so far remained publicly bullish on demand. During earnings reports last month, carriers expressed confidence that demand would remain high for travel through the summer.

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