Since we don't have EPA labels for planes, it is a bit of mystery how efficient they are. Theoretically, they seem to have the potential for great efficiency because of the density of passengers. A 747 holds over 400 passengers. However, lifting a 250 ton steel object into the air and keeping it there is energy intensive. In addition, airplanes have to carry a great deal of extra weight in fuel to power the aircraft. How does passenger density versus aircraft weight net out?
The Wall Street Journal ran an article on airplane MPG last year. This graphic shows the range of MPG across airlines: