Holiday Travel

Suck It In, Travelers: Airlines Will Be Stuffed on Thanksgiving Sunday


If your Thanksgiving involves an airplane, take a deep breath in—and hold it. About 25 million people will fly between Nov. 22 and Dec. 3, about 1.5 percent more than a year ago, according to Airlines for America, the trade group for U.S. carriers.

Thanksgiving is the busiest holiday for travel in the U.S., and the craziest travel day this year will probably be the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when 2.56 million people are expected to fly. On Nov. 27, the day before the holiday, 2.42 million passengers are expected. Load factors—the measure of how full your flight is, and a decent gauge of how annoying it may be to board—will top 85 percent on the busiest travel days, Nov. 27, Dec. 1, and Dec. 2, the group said. Airlines are increasing their Thanksgiving seat capacity by about 2 percent from 2012.

Also today, Airlines for America said the 10 largest carriers had net income of $4.5 billion in the first nine months of the year, with a profit margin of 4 percent, up from 0.3 percent in the same period of 2012.

Bachman is an associate editor for Businessweek.com.

Later, Baby
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