Department of Transportation Airline DB1A and DB1B Data


Important Information

The data available on this page are only for academic research. Use of these data for consulting or other for-profit activities is not permitted under the terms of use.

The domestic DB1A/DB1B data are now available without charge from the Department of Transportation website for 1993-present.

NOTE: The Data Bank 1A was replaced in 2003 by Data Bank 1B. These datasets are identical except for (1) DB1B indentifies both the operating and the ticketing carrier while DB1A assumed they were the same and (2) DB1B has changed the codes for seat classes. The data sets here are based on the DB1A data through 2003Q4 and DB1B data starting with 2003Q1, and use consistent codes for seat classes. Below they are referred to collectively as DB1A/DB1B. Both are a 10% sample of nearly all tickets sold, where selection of the sample is based on the last digit of the ticket identifier being a zero.

All of the data available here are translations/refinements of the U.S. Department of Transportation's O&D Data Bank 1A Ticket Dollar Value Database (DB1A and DB1B) by Severin Borenstein. The data available here are only for domestic U.S. tickets. The full DB1A/DB1B includes a sample of international tickets for U.S. carriers, but access to those data requires being a U.S. citizen and receiving authorization.

You can purchase the full DB1A/DB1B data directly from the DOT (if you are a U.S. citizen and after you receive authorization from DOT) for a cost of about $350 per CD. Many quarters of data fit on a CD. For more information on this, go to the DOT's airline data webpage. Also, for more information on the DB1A/DB1B, go to the DOT's website. The DB1A/DB1B is a quarterly dataset. The quarter in which a ticket appears in the sample is based on the first date of travel of the ticket. There is no further information in the dataset about dates of travel.

All data are available here are for 1979Q1 through 2016Q3, however there are data reliability issues for the first few years, with the worst being 1980Q4 when EA and DL appear to have significantly under-reported. Through much of the 1980s there are airport reporting problems with some airlines reporting city names rather than the particular airport (e.g., NYC rather than LGA) for some of their tickets. These problems are not corrected in these files.

There are two forms of the data available here:

1. Quarterly Ticket-Level Domestic DB1A/DB1B

This is a translation of the DOT DB1A/DB1B that drops the more unusual tickets (e.g., any ticket with more than 4 coupons, one-way ticket with more than 2 coupons) and all international tickets.

Size: About 100-200 Mb per quarter uncompressed. About 10-30 Mb per quarter zipped.

Each file is in fixed format with the following record layout:

1 = Point of Purchase (B=Base Airport, R=Reference Airport) 2-4 = 3-letter code for base airport 5-7 = 3-letter code for reference airport 8-10 = 3-letter code for change-of-plane airport if there is one 11-12 = 2-letter code for first-segment carrier 13-14 = 2-letter code for second-segment carrier 15-16 = 2-letter fare code for first segment 17-18 = 2-letter fare code for second segment 19-22 = Fare 23-26 = First-segment distance 27-30 = Second-segment distance 31-34 = Base-to-reference nonstop distance 35-40 = Number of passengers 41-42 = Reporting carrier (assumed to be first segment carrier in DB1A) 43-45 = 3-digit numerical code for base airport (see airports.lst) 46-48 = 3-digit numerical code for reference airport (see airports.lst) 49-51 = 3-digit numerical code for change-of-plane airport (see airports.lst) 52 = Ticket type code SCREENING The following records are dropped from the original DB1A:
  1. Any record that includes an airport outside the 50-state U.S.
  2. Any record with more than 4 coupons
  3. Any one-way ticket with more than 2 coupons and any 3 or 4 coupon ticket with more than two trip-break points
  1. Round-trip and open-jaw tickets are broken into two records, one for each directional trip. For round-trip (closed-jaw) tickets, the fare in DB1A is divided in half for each of the directional trips. For open-jaw tickets, fare is divided by proportion of ticket miles is each of the directional trips.
  2. Some records contain airport codes that are not included in the DOT's Database 5 or for which no location information is present. For these records, no distances are calculated. The records are still included with the 3-letter airport codes, but distances are set to 0. For these records, round-trip open-jaw fares are divided in half, rather than weighted by share of distance, since distance is not known.
  3. No screening of data based on fare reasonableness has been done.
TRIP TYPE CODES In addition to the fixed format dataset, each zip file contains four more files:

2. Aggregation of Domestic DB1A/DB1B into Market-Carrier Dataset

This is a relatively compact summary of the domestic DB1A/DB1B. It compresses all O&D information for a carrier on a route into one record, giving direct and change-of-plane passenger counts and average fares for the given carrier on the route. The Market Data file is available as a Stata dataset. It is created from the domestic airline ticket data from the DOT DB1A/DB1B, a 10% sample of all tickets collected by US carriers.

Size: About 500 MB uncompressed for all data, 1979Q1 to 2016Q3 (200 MB compressed).


Record Layout: yr -- year qtr -- quarter ap1 -- 3-letter alpha code of the first airport (by alphabetical ordering) ap2 -- 3-letter alpha code of the secondt airpor (by alphabetical ordering) - blank if one-coupon ticket cr1 -- 2-letter alpha code of the first carrier (by alphabetical ordering) cr2 -- 2-letter alpha code of the second carrier (by alphabetical ordering) - blank if one-coupon ticket pax -- number of passengers reported in record nsdst -- non-stop distance from airport ap1 to airport ap2 avdst -- average total routing distance of passengers in this record - equal to nsdst if one-coupon ticket avprc -- average one-way equivalent price paid by passengers reported in this record cop -- 0 if one-coupon ticket, 1 if two-coupon ticket Questions may be sent to
Last modified 8 December 2019 by drf