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Cost of a plane ticket the year you graduated college

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Aero Icarus // Wikicommons

Cost of a plane ticket the year you graduated college

The romantic possibilities of air travel have long captivated American travelers seeking adventure across the country. Since the first commercial flight took off over 100 years ago, the U.S. airline industry has since grown to handle over 600 million miles traveled every year, permeating every aspect of our lives, from business to leisure.

But commercial air travel is not without its pain points, perhaps none greater than the constant fluctuation of ticket costs, and the industry’s lack of pricing transparency. A flight is one of the very few services in the world where you are almost certainly paying a different amount from the customers sitting right next to you.

That first flight was just 23 minutes and cost $400 (roughly $9,600 today), and ticket prices have been a constant source of customer complaints ever since. But just how much has the price of a ticket changed over time? Using data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Bureau of Labor Statistics, Stacker analyzed the average price for U.S. domestic airline fares from 1995-2017 along with CPI changes for airline fare from 1964-1995. For each year, we also included the average price for the popular routes of Boston—Seattle, Chicago—Atlanta, and New York—Los Angeles. These figures reflect fares for paying customers only and are typically representative of roundtrip travel, as defined by the BTS.

For those nostalgic for the time where the skies were yours for a few hundred dollars and a dream, read on to see the cost of a plane ticket the year you graduated from college.

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1950sUnlimited // Flickr

1964

Average domestic airline fare: $36.66 (inflation-adjusted: $289.36)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $38.18 (inflation-adjusted: $301.36)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $13.76 (inflation-adjusted: $108.60)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $40.37 (inflation-adjusted: $318.69)

 

3/
SDASM Archives // Flickr

1965

Average domestic airline fare: $36.81 (inflation-adjusted: $285.97)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $38.34 (inflation-adjusted: $297.83)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $13.82 (inflation-adjusted: $107.33)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $40.54 (inflation-adjusted: $314.96)

 

4/
Robert J. Boser // Wikicommons

1966

Average domestic airline fare: $36.81 (inflation-adjusted: $277.17)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $38.34 (inflation-adjusted: $288.67)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $13.82 (inflation-adjusted: $104.03)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $40.54 (inflation-adjusted: $305.27)

 

5/
Daniel Tanner // Wikicommons

1967

Average domestic airline fare: $36.97 (inflation-adjusted: $270.83)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $38.50 (inflation-adjusted: $282.07)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $13.87 (inflation-adjusted: $101.65)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $40.71 (inflation-adjusted: $298.29)

 

6/
KurtClark // Flickr

1968

Average domestic airline fare: $37.74 (inflation-adjusted: $265.37)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $39.31 (inflation-adjusted: $276.39)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $14.16 (inflation-adjusted: $99.60)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $41.57 (inflation-adjusted: $292.28)

 

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Piergiuliano Chesi // Wikicommons

1969

Average domestic airline fare: $40.52 (inflation-adjusted: $270.20)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $42.21 (inflation-adjusted: $281.41)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $15.21 (inflation-adjusted: $101.41)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $44.63 (inflation-adjusted: $297.59)

 

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RuthAS // Wikicommons

1970

Average domestic airline fare: $43.77 (inflation-adjusted: $276.06)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $45.59 (inflation-adjusted: $287.51)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $16.43 (inflation-adjusted: $103.61)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $48.21 (inflation-adjusted: $304.05)

 

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Ed Uthman // Flickr

1971

Average domestic airline fare: $46.87 (inflation-adjusted: $283.16)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $48.81 (inflation-adjusted: $294.91)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $17.59 (inflation-adjusted: $106.28)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $51.62 (inflation-adjusted: $311.87)

 

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Orange County Archives i // Wikicommons

1972

Average domestic airline fare: $48.10 (inflation-adjusted: $281.60)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $50.10 (inflation-adjusted: $293.28)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $18.05 (inflation-adjusted: $105.69)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $52.98 (inflation-adjusted: $310.15)

 

11/
The U.S. National Archives // Flickr

1973

Average domestic airline fare: $49.80 (inflation-adjusted: $274.49)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $51.87 (inflation-adjusted: $285.88)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $18.69 (inflation-adjusted: $103.02)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $54.85 (inflation-adjusted: $302.32)

 

12/
Historic American Engineering Record; Library of Congress

1974

Average domestic airline fare: $53.98 (inflation-adjusted: $267.93)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $56.22 (inflation-adjusted: $279.05)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $20.26 (inflation-adjusted: $100.56)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $59.45 (inflation-adjusted: $295.10)

 

13/
Ed Uthman // Flickr

1975

Average domestic airline fare: $58.78 (inflation-adjusted: $267.33)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $61.21 (inflation-adjusted: $278.42)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $22.06 (inflation-adjusted: $100.33)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $64.73 (inflation-adjusted: $294.43)

 

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Wikicommons

1976

Average domestic airline fare: $63.57 (inflation-adjusted: $273.39)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $66.21 (inflation-adjusted: $284.73)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $23.86 (inflation-adjusted: $102.61)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $70.02 (inflation-adjusted: $301.10)

 

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AFP/Getty Images

1977

Average domestic airline fare: $67.28 (inflation-adjusted: $271.69)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $70.07 (inflation-adjusted: $282.96)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $25.25 (inflation-adjusted: $101.97)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $74.10 (inflation-adjusted: $299.23)

 

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calflier001 // Wikicommons

1978

Average domestic airline fare: $70.38 (inflation-adjusted: $264.13)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $73.30 (inflation-adjusted: $275.09)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $26.41 (inflation-adjusted: $99.13)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $77.51 (inflation-adjusted: $290.91)

 

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NASA/KSC // Wikicommons

1979

Average domestic airline fare: $76.10 (inflation-adjusted: $256.49)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $79.26 (inflation-adjusted: $267.14)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $28.56 (inflation-adjusted: $96.27)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $83.81 (inflation-adjusted: $282.50)

 

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Orange County Archives // Wikicommons

1980

Average domestic airline fare: $105.18 (inflation-adjusted: $312.34)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $109.54 (inflation-adjusted: $325.30)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $39.48 (inflation-adjusted: $117.23)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $115.84 (inflation-adjusted: $344.01)

 

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Aero Icarus // Wikicommons

1981

Average domestic airline fare: $132.40 (inflation-adjusted: $356.42)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $137.89 (inflation-adjusted: $371.21)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $49.69 (inflation-adjusted: $133.77)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $145.82 (inflation-adjusted: $392.55)

 

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Seattle Municipal Archives // Wikicommons

1982

Average domestic airline fare: $146.01 (inflation-adjusted: $370.25)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $152.07 (inflation-adjusted: $385.61)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $54.80 (inflation-adjusted: $138.96)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $160.81 (inflation-adjusted: $407.79)

 

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Phillip Capper // Wikicommons

1983

Average domestic airline fare: $154.36 (inflation-adjusted: $379.25)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $160.77 (inflation-adjusted: $394.98)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $57.94 (inflation-adjusted: $142.34)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $170.01 (inflation-adjusted: $417.69)

 

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Aero Icarus // Wikicommons

1984

Average domestic airline fare: $163.64 (inflation-adjusted: $385.41)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $170.43 (inflation-adjusted: $401.40)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $61.42 (inflation-adjusted: $144.65)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $180.24 (inflation-adjusted: $424.48)

 

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RuthAS // Wikicommons

1985

Average domestic airline fare: $174.01 (inflation-adjusted: $395.72)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $181.23 (inflation-adjusted: $412.14)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $65.31 (inflation-adjusted: $148.52)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $191.65 (inflation-adjusted: $435.84)

 

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Aero Icarus // Wikicommons

1986

Average domestic airline fare: $181.12 (inflation-adjusted: $404.39)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $188.64 (inflation-adjusted: $421.16)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $67.98 (inflation-adjusted: $151.77)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $199.49 (inflation-adjusted: $445.38)

 

25/
Eheik // Wikicommons

1987

Average domestic airline fare: $189.94 (inflation-adjusted: $409.14)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $197.82 (inflation-adjusted: $426.11)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $71.29 (inflation-adjusted: $153.56)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $209.20 (inflation-adjusted: $450.62)

 

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Aero Icarus // Wikicommons

1988

Average domestic airline fare: $192.10 (inflation-adjusted: $397.36)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $200.07 (inflation-adjusted: $413.85)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $72.10 (inflation-adjusted: $149.14)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $211.58 (inflation-adjusted: $437.65)

 

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Tomás Del Coro // Wikicommons // Wikicommons

1989

Average domestic airline fare: $203.55 (inflation-adjusted: $401.68)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $212.00 (inflation-adjusted: $418.35)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $76.40 (inflation-adjusted: $150.76)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $224.19 (inflation-adjusted: $442.41)

 

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Aero Icarus // Wikicommons

1990

Average domestic airline fare: $229.54 (inflation-adjusted: $429.74)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $239.06 (inflation-adjusted: $447.57)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $86.15 (inflation-adjusted: $161.29)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $252.81 (inflation-adjusted: $473.31)

 

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Phillip Capper // Wikicommons

1991

Average domestic airline fare: $240.05 (inflation-adjusted: $431.28)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $250.01 (inflation-adjusted: $449.18)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $90.10 (inflation-adjusted: $161.87)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $264.39 (inflation-adjusted: $475.01)

 

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Hunter Desportes // Wikicommons

1992

Average domestic airline fare: $240.05 (inflation-adjusted: $418.68)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $250.01 (inflation-adjusted: $436.05)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $90.10 (inflation-adjusted: $157.14)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $264.39 (inflation-adjusted: $461.13)

 

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JetPix // Wikicommons

1993

Average domestic airline fare: $276.40 (inflation-adjusted: $468.06)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $287.87 (inflation-adjusted: $487.49)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $103.74 (inflation-adjusted: $175.67)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $304.42 (inflation-adjusted: $515.52)

 

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Seattle Municipal Archives // Wikicommons

1994

Average domestic airline fare: $286.92 (inflation-adjusted: $473.75)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $298.82 (inflation-adjusted: $493.40)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $107.69 (inflation-adjusted: $177.81)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $316.01 (inflation-adjusted: $521.78)

 

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Aero Icarus // Wikicommons

1995

Average domestic airline fare: $293.42 (inflation-adjusted: $471.12)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $305.59 (inflation-adjusted: $490.67)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $110.12 (inflation-adjusted: $176.82)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $323.16 (inflation-adjusted: $518.88)

 

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Aero Icarus // Flickr

1996

Average domestic airline fare: $278.68 (inflation-adjusted: $434.62)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $310.10 (inflation-adjusted: $483.63)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $111.75 (inflation-adjusted: $174.28)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $327.93 (inflation-adjusted: $511.44)

 

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airbus777 // Flickr

1997

Average domestic airline fare: $288.39 (inflation-adjusted: $439.69)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $316.84 (inflation-adjusted: $483.06)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $127.50 (inflation-adjusted: $194.39)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $308.52 (inflation-adjusted: $470.37)

 

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Aero Icarus // Wikicommons

1998

Average domestic airline fare: $307.77 (inflation-adjusted: $462.03)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $311.40 (inflation-adjusted: $467.49)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $127.73 (inflation-adjusted: $191.74)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $335.41 (inflation-adjusted: $503.53)

 

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Tomás Del Coro // Wikicommons

1999

Average domestic airline fare: $325.71 (inflation-adjusted: $478.40)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $286.75 (inflation-adjusted: $421.18)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $135.86 (inflation-adjusted: $199.55)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $334.45 (inflation-adjusted: $491.24)

 

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Ken Fielding // Wikicommons

2000

Average domestic airline fare: $339.62 (inflation-adjusted: $482.60)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $303.73 (inflation-adjusted: $431.60)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $160.81 (inflation-adjusted: $228.51)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $379.91 (inflation-adjusted: $539.86)

 

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Aero Icarus // Wikicommons

2001

Average domestic airline fare: $324.20 (inflation-adjusted: $447.94)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $259.70 (inflation-adjusted: $358.83)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $169.42 (inflation-adjusted: $234.08)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $322.84 (inflation-adjusted: $446.07)

 

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Gillfoto // Wikicommons

2002

Average domestic airline fare: $314.78 (inflation-adjusted: $428.17)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $241.70 (inflation-adjusted: $328.76)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $154.92 (inflation-adjusted: $210.72)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $294.55 (inflation-adjusted: $400.64)

 

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Aero Icarus // Wikicommons

2003

Average domestic airline fare: $316.21 (inflation-adjusted: $420.52)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $237.23 (inflation-adjusted: $315.49)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $128.06 (inflation-adjusted: $170.31)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $268.48 (inflation-adjusted: $357.05)

 

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Mariordo // Wikicommons

2004

Average domestic airline fare: $308.09 (inflation-adjusted: $399.10)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $219.49 (inflation-adjusted: $284.32)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $127.83 (inflation-adjusted: $165.58)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $228.24 (inflation-adjusted: $295.66)

 

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

2005

Average domestic airline fare: $307.54 (inflation-adjusted: $385.33)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $226.52 (inflation-adjusted: $283.81)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $154.66 (inflation-adjusted: $193.78)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $256.40 (inflation-adjusted: $321.25)

 

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James Willamor // Wikicommons

2006

Average domestic airline fare: $327.91 (inflation-adjusted: $398.01)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $238.15 (inflation-adjusted: $289.07)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $175.24 (inflation-adjusted: $212.70)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $296.84 (inflation-adjusted: $360.30)

 

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BriYYZ // Wikicommons

2007

Average domestic airline fare: $324.57 (inflation-adjusted: $383.12)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $255.54 (inflation-adjusted: $301.64)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $176.57 (inflation-adjusted: $208.42)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $317.26 (inflation-adjusted: $374.49)

 

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Tomás Del Coro // Wikicommons

2008

Average domestic airline fare: $343.02 (inflation-adjusted: $389.86)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $272.85 (inflation-adjusted: $310.11)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $165.49 (inflation-adjusted: $188.09)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $321.36 (inflation-adjusted: $365.24)

 

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FRED // Wikicommons

2009

Average domestic airline fare: $311.46 (inflation-adjusted: $355.31)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $236.31 (inflation-adjusted: $269.58)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $135.41 (inflation-adjusted: $154.47)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $274.91 (inflation-adjusted: $313.62)

 

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JL Johnson // Wikicommons

2010

Average domestic airline fare: $334.93 (inflation-adjusted: $375.77)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $256.41 (inflation-adjusted: $287.68)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $161.51 (inflation-adjusted: $181.21)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $314.04 (inflation-adjusted: $352.34)

 

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Phillip Capper // Wikicommons

2011

Average domestic airline fare: $364.41 (inflation-adjusted: $396.49)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $277.43 (inflation-adjusted: $301.85)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $178.52 (inflation-adjusted: $194.23)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $353.29 (inflation-adjusted: $384.40)

 

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Senado Federal // Wikicommons

2012

Average domestic airline fare: $376.62 (inflation-adjusted: $401.39)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $286.85 (inflation-adjusted: $305.72)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $171.00 (inflation-adjusted: $182.24)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $351.89 (inflation-adjusted: $375.03)

 

51/
Nick-D // Wikicommons

2013

Average domestic airline fare: $379.99 (inflation-adjusted: $399.08)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $281.86 (inflation-adjusted: $296.01)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $191.12 (inflation-adjusted: $200.71)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $359.34 (inflation-adjusted: $377.38)

 

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James Willamor // Wikicommons

2014

Average domestic airline fare: $390.54 (inflation-adjusted: $403.74)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $279.82 (inflation-adjusted: $289.27)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $214.82 (inflation-adjusted: $222.08)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $381.83 (inflation-adjusted: $394.74)

 

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JT Occhialini // Wikicommons

2015

Average domestic airline fare: $378.43 (inflation-adjusted: $390.73)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $282.28 (inflation-adjusted: $291.45)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $165.23 (inflation-adjusted: $170.60)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $377.84 (inflation-adjusted: $390.11)

 

54/
Sunnya343 // Wikicommons

2016

Average domestic airline fare: $352.42 (inflation-adjusted: $359.32)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $261.00 (inflation-adjusted: $266.11)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $131.10 (inflation-adjusted: $133.67)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $360.10 (inflation-adjusted: $367.15)

 

55/
christopheronglv // Shutterstock

2017

Average domestic airline fare: $347.86 (inflation-adjusted: $347.86)

Boston, MA - Seattle, WA fare: $268.69 (inflation-adjusted: $268.69)

Chicago, IL - Atlanta, GA fare: $151.02 (inflation-adjusted: $151.02)

New York, NY - Los Angeles, CA fare: $374.39 (inflation-adjusted: $374.39)

 

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