Seventeen of the 25 most common domestic destinations from Northwest Arkansas National Airport saw an airfare decrease of at least 10% during the first quarter this year.
The data, made public earlier this month by the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics, showed the biggest fare decreases at XNA compared to a year earlier were found by people who traveled to Phoenix-Mesa (55.3%), Denver (54.6%) and Nashville (34.8%).
Phoenix-Mesa, Denver and Nashville were served from XNA by low-cost carriers on a less-than-daily basis during the most recent quarter, and low-cost carriers didn’t serve the three big-decrease airports in the first quarter last year.
It’s the first-quarter cost of the Phoenix-Mesa trip that’s most impressive. Travelers in the first quarter last year paid $574 roundtrip, but then Allegiant Air started providing its low-cost nonstop flights to Phoenix-Mesa in November 2019. Allegiant’s travelers averaged $92 roundtrip. American Airlines sold its Phoenix trips for $490 on average in the first quarter this year, but it was significantly less than it had changed in early 2019.
The average first-quarter traveler going to Denver saved $250 roundtrip, and low-cost Frontier Airlines is a primary reason. The airline, which kicked off its XNA flights to Denver in June 2019, sold them for just $54. United, which had been the primary airline used by XNA travelers headed to Colorado in the first quarter of 2019, lowered its average fare from about $450 in the first quarter 2019 to $314 in the same quarter this year.
Lower fares and the availability of Allegiant Air flights explains why there was so much more travel to Nashville from XNA. It increased to almost 5,000 people flying to the Music City in this year’s first quarter; it was near 3,600 a year earlier. This year’s travelers saved an average of $150 roundtrip, paying $282. Travelers to Nashville paid $434 roundtrip in the first quarter last year.
Fares did go up for trips to a few of XNA’s top destinations, including Dallas/Fort Worth (7.8% more expensive) and Washington/Baltimore (1.4%).
The airport’s overall domestic fare fell by $72 to what was $432 during the quarter. It was a 14.3% decrease. The national average fare was $336.
Other big fare savings at XNA were discovered by travelers headed to the destinations listed below. The percentage indicates how much less expensive the fares were in the first quarter of this year compared to the same quarter last year.
- Chicago (25.9%)
- Austin (24.8%)
- Seattle (22.2%)
- Salt Lake City (20.85%)
- San Antonio (19.5%)
- South Florida (16%)
- Charlotte (15.6%)
- Philadelphia (14.7%)
- Tampa (14%)
- Boston (13.2%)
- San Diego (13%)
- New Orleans (13%)
- New York/Newark (11.5%)
- Atlanta (11.4%)