More BTS Data Nonsense…

Take a look at the nonsense and hand wringing coming from various media sources regarding the 3Q BTS “fare” report.

As usual, there are the righteous outrage reports in local newspapers that “Our fares are higher than the national average!”

Here’s a clue… there is no way to compare the “national average” with a single airport… all airports have different geography and economic base and consumer distribution. There is no national “average” fare. In addition, the BTS numbers aren’t fares charged per se, but are average ticket spend… which means that it will vary by location of the airport.

It is unfortunate that these BTS reports are not fully explained before they get in to hands of local reporters.

“Itinerary spend” – varies from airport to airport. Midland, Texas has an average itinerary of under 900 miles. Newark is over 1,500. Denver’s around 1,200. The travel mixes are not comparable. There is no “average” metric.

Get the message?  Fares at various airports are based on a range of factors that totally preclude this nonsense of “average fares.”

By the way, the GAO has recommended that this BTS system be completely overhauled.

But that was twenty one years ago. In the meantime, it’s incumbent for the media to get to understand these data – and to realize that they are from the Feds, not Mount Sinai.