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How can I view the typical flight prices (ideally during a given date of the year) between two airports prior to the COVID-19 pandemic? Google Flights only show the future prices.

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    This type of information is closely guarded and not generally available without paying a lot for it. Sorry. Nov 27 '20 at 7:45
  • @lambshaanxy thanks, too bad. Seems easy to cron some data export script and save somewhere. Nov 27 '20 at 7:49
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Not really an answer but too long for a comment:

Even before Covid there was no such thing as "typical" prices. I've flown US east coast to China for as little as $400 and also for over $2000: Same plane, same seats. I've flown business class to LA since it was cheaper than economy (on the same flight). Even budget carriers like Ryan Air will vary the prices by factor of three or more from one day to the next depending on how full the planes are. We flew a multi city itinerary and a single small tweak at one routing reduced the price for the total thing by a factor of 5.

In order to answer the question, you would need an operational definition of "typical".

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  • thanks, let's say typical = median. I have a very different experience on my side, round-trip, economy prices between US west coast (SFO) and China's main airports were almost always below 1kUSD, and the typical price was between 500 and 700 USD except for typical vacation dates. Nov 26 '20 at 21:02
  • Right, a single number just doesn't cut it. There's so many variables determining a ticket price that averaging them all out would require a whole lot of subjective choices. Just as a datapoint, I have tens of tickets between several European airport pairs over the past two years, and the spreads between the cheapest and the most expensive ones are typically a factor of 5 or more. And that's already after eliminating the worst confounding factors: same booking class, no luggage or extras, same day of week and time of day, booked roughly the same time in advance.
    – TooTea
    Nov 27 '20 at 14:32
  • @TooTea thanks, interesting, my experience with prices for flights between Asia and SFO is drastically different: the factor is definitely less than 2. But that's ok, in that case one could simply indicate stdev/IQR in addition to the median. Nov 27 '20 at 22:23
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+150

The closest thing to a useful answer is here. ExpertFlyer is a subscription service that can show historical fares up to a year ago. This is not enough to go back before COVID-19 now, but it was at the time Franck Dernoncourt's question here was posted.

The historical fares don't necessarily indicate prices at which flights could actually be purchased, because (particularly on the highly discounted end) they could be fares for which the airline did not release any seats at a given time. But they are of some use as a guide.

Also it's important to note that airfares depend on two dates, the flight date and the purchase date. The effect of COVID-19 (or any other unforeseen event) on airfares would be most directly associated with the purchase date. That is, fares quoted before March 2020 for travel after March 2020 would still be "normal".

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