Four of the five most popular US airline routes involve a New York City airport

Most Popular US Air Routes

Check out that graph above, via Quartz and via PlaneStats. I’ve always heard that LGA/JFK — > MIA is a thing (makes sense with warm weather and all), and I used to thump that stat for days at airport bars back when because my wife and I started long-distance — me in NYC, her in Miami — so I thought I was part of something really broadly special. It turns out maybe I wasn’t, as JFK — > LAX is the most popular route domestically and also the most valuable route by a decent margin. Cue Quartz:

Across the major operators on the LAX-JFK route, the average round trip fare was $600, excluding frequent flyer awards. More than half of passengers paid less than $400 round trip on the ticket and 87% pay less than $800.

The remaining 13% of passengers paying $800 or more accounted for 40% of the revenue generated by the route in 2013. And the 3.6% of passengers flying on tickets priced over $2,000 contributed 21% of the route’s aggregate revenue.
$$$. As Notorious BIG once rapped, “… only question now is LaGuardia or Kennedy.” Apparently that answer is Kennedy.
Air travel still remains one of the most flummoxing and yet oddly community-building aspects of American society. No one really likes it, and yet — unless you can inhabit a world where all your friends and family live within 20-50 miles — everyone needs to do it sometimes. Allow me a personal interlude here. I was at a a bar in Seattle last night talking to a guy about his next week; I love talking to guys at bars, as I feel, again, it’s oddly flummoxing yet community-building. This guy tells me he lives in Austin (no shocker there, eh?) and next week is flying (apologies if my airport codes are wrong) AUS — > SFO — > SEA — > SFO — > DAL — > MIA — > Turks and Caicos (for July 4th). I’m not even going to try to nail the airport code for Turks and Caicos on the first try (it’s MBPV, thanks Google). That’s a lot of flights, although admittedly one can’t feel sorry for anyone who ends up in Miami / Turks at the back end of a grind. We were talking about the culture of the air — cue George Clooney movie discussion — and how the pieces fit together and, despite a lengthy convo, we ultimately came to no real definitive conclusions. That’s why when I learn stuff like the five most popular routes in the US and the five most revenue-centric routes in the US, I gasp with glee. Context isn’t long for the airline industry.

Ted Bauer