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Domestic air fares hit all-time high, rising to $373

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — It cost passengers more to fly on U.S. planes during the first three months of this year than ever before.

The average price of a domestic ticket rose to $373 in the first quarter of 2012, according to the Transportation Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That’s a 4.8% jump from the average fare of $356 in the first quarter of 2011.

The increase is an all-time high for any quarter, the bureau reported. The previous high was $370 in the second quarter of 2011. The figures are not adjusted for inflation.

Among the top 100 airports in the country, passengers flying from Cincinnati paid the highest average fare, $526; Atlantic City, New Jersey, passengers had the lowest, $157.

The fare numbers are based on the price of the ticket plus any additional taxes and fees. It does not include fees for baggage paid at the airport.

To compensate for higher energy costs, some airlines raised fares during the first three months of the year.

While revenues were up in the first quarter, largely due to higher airfares, industry costs exceeded revenue growth.

“Jet fuel is our largest costs but expenses rose across the board in the first quarter,” said Steve Lott, a spokesman for Airlines for America, an industry trade group representing U.S. airlines.

Lott said U.S. airlines reported a $1.7 billion net loss in the period.