US airline bookings fell 17% in April as the cost of flights soared

A Southwest Airlines fare as an American Airlines plane lands at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, United States, January 24, 2022.

Joshua Roberts | Reuters

US airline bookings fell 17% last month compared to March, according to a report from Adobe published Thursday, one of the first signs of a drop in demand for air travel as ticket prices surpass pre-pandemic levels.

Consumers spent $7.8 billion on domestic tickets in April, down 13% from the previous month, according to the report.

Air travel has been resilient in recent months despite the highest rate of inflation since the early 1980s. Prices for everything from gasoline to groceries to travel have skyrocketed. New data suggests that consumers are starting to back away from buying tickets.

Despite the slowdown, the demand for domestic US airline tickets remains above 2019 levels. In April, online ticket spending rose 23% compared to the same month in 2019 while bookings were up 5%. And Adobe said prices are up 27% from 2019 and 8% higher compared to March.