Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Airlines expect more Thanksgiving travelers


Remember the long lines and crowded planes last Thanksgiving as holiday travel surged? Well, airlines now think they’ve got your number.

Anticipating a 2.5% increase in the legions of people who are traveling to visit family on the long holiday weekend, airlines have boosted the number of flights and size of planes for an average 74,000 seats each day during the holiday travel period.

Airlines say the increased capacity will accommodate the increased demand that developed as fare prices dropped.

“Travelers should rest assured that while more people will be flying, there will be more than an adequate number of seats available,” said John Heimlich, chief economist for the trade group Airlines for America, which represents most of the largest carriers.

More than 27 million passengers — a record for the holiday — will fly U.S. airlines worldwide from Nov. 18 to Nov. 29, according to the group. The anticipated increase will add an average 55,000 daily passengers, which is less than the space added.

“U.S. passenger airlines are ready and saving you a spot,” said Jean Medina, a spokeswoman for the group.

Airlines expect to carry an average 2.27 million passengers daily during the travel period, with volumes ranging from 1.51 million passengers to 2.81 million. The busiest days will be Sunday, Nov. 27; Monday, Nov. 28; and Wednesday, Nov. 23. The lightest day will be Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24.

The travel surge follows a 9.6% decline in fares during the second quarter of the year, to $353 for April, May and June from $390 a year earlier the Transportation Department’s bureau of transportation statistics announced Oct. 25.

The online travel agent Orbitz.com said the average airfare to the top 10 destinations for the Thanksgiving holiday is $409 this year, with hotel costs averaging $158 per night.

The most popular destinations are New York, Las Vegas, Dallas, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, Denver, Newark and San Francisco.

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