Record Thanksgiving Travel Expected


More Americans than ever plan on heading over the river and through the woods this Thanksgiving---or at least flying over them. The trade group Airlines for America estimates 28.5 million Americans will take a flight between Nov. 17 and Nov. 28. That would be a three-percent increase from last year, which was also a record high. "Low fares and increased availability of seats continue to make air travel widely accessible," says John Heimlich, vice president and chief economist for Airlines for America in a statement.

In addition to the relatively low fares, the overall strong economy is another factor driving the uptick in holiday travel this year. Heimlich says it is part of a larger trend for airlines. "Last year was a record year for the industry for passenger volume, and we've seen an uptick in volumes again this year," he tells ABC News. "We expect this year to be an all-time high in terms of air travel volumes."

The airlines are also doing their part to make room for the increased passenger load, despite complaints about reductions in the size of seats. "They've been acquiring new aircraft, they've been using larger aircraft, and increasing aircraft utilization," says Heimlich. "All of those things this Thanksgiving will translate to an additional 74,000 seats per day."

As for the busiest single air travel day during this year's Thanksgiving period, that will be Sunday Nov. 26, when an estimated 2.88 million people are expected to take a flight.


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