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This is why flying is so expensive

Published May 16th, 2016 6:40PM EDT
Why Is Flying Expensive?
Image: Airbus

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Have you ever wondered why it costs so much to fly?

With summer approaching, you’re probably checking travel sites on a daily basis in order to secure tickets at a reasonable price. But if you have a spouse and children to account for, chances are you’ll be paying at least $1,000 no matter where or when you’re going. So why exactly are ticket prices so steep?

SEE ALSO: The 5 biggest ways Captain America: Civil War failed

Wendover Productions recently shared a YouTube video which attempts to answer this very question, dispelling a few rumors in the process.

You might have thought that fuel costs were the biggest offenders, but as it turns out, plane passengers are incredibly fuel efficient. If an Airbus A320 is filled to capacity with 154 passengers, it has a per-person fuel efficiency of 104.7 miles per gallon. Flying from NYC to DC, one person only uses up $2.50 worth of fuel.

So why does a flight from NYC to DC cost $80 or more?

Here’s a list of everything that an airline has to pay for other than fuel, as well as all the taxes and how each of these costs factor into your individual ticket price:

  • Fuel ($2.50)
  • Flight crew ($1.50)
  • Airport fees ($13.50)
  • Taxes ($15.60)
    • Domestic Passenger Ticket Tax (7.5%)
    • Domestic Flight Segment Tax ($4.00)
    • 9/11 Security Fee ($5.60)
  • Paying off the airplane ($11.50)
  • Regular maintenance ($14.00)
  • Airline employees ($10.00)
  • Insurance ($0.25)

Rounding up, this bring the total cost of flying one person on a packed A320 to around $70. This would leave $10 of profit for the airline, but all of these estimates were on the conservative side, so the profit is likely even lower, especially when you consider the fact that not every flight is filled to capacity.

It’s a fascinating video, so be sure to watch the entire thing below:

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.