Cost of travel by air has dropped a lot over the last several decades

Graph the inflation-adjusted cost of air travel over the last 33 years – it looks like a straight line down until a couple of years ago and then a slight increase. Average ticket prices today are about 60% of what they were in 1980. Cool.

Mark Perry graphed the data from Airlines for America in his post, Even with baggage fees, the “miracle of flight” remains a real bargain; average 2011 airfare was 40% below 1980 average.

Check out the graph.

There’s an uptick in the late ‘80s, but the general trend from 1980 through about 2005 is pretty much a smooth line down. Fees are flat for a couple of years and have gone up in the last two years. Even with that it’s cheaper to fly by air now than 10 years ago, which was cheaper than 10 years earlier, which was cheaper than 10 years before that.

You gotta’ check out his calculation comparing the cost of driving versus an airline ticket for the average distance traveled by air. The gasoline alone would cost approximately the same as the ticket. Add in wear on your car and it would cost more to drive than fly. In addition you would spend about 20 hours driving each way plus however many hotel stops that would take. Far cheaper to fly than drive.

Can you think of a better time to be alive than today?

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