Get ready for crowded airports this Thanksgiving

AP Photo/Tony DejakU.S. airlines expect to carry 24.6 million passengers over the 12 days surrounding Thanksgiving.

AP Photo/Tony DejakU.S. airlines expect to carry 24.6 million passengers over the 12 days surrounding Thanksgiving.

If you're flying somewhere for Thanksgiving, expect airports to be even more crowded this year.

U.S. airlines expect to carry 24.6 million passengers over the 12 days surrounding Thanksgiving, up 1.5 percent from last year.

The worst day: Nov. 30, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, with 2.6 million people flying on U.S. airlines.

The forecast comes from Airlines for America, a trade group representing the biggest U.S. carriers. It covers Friday, Nov. 21, through Tuesday, Dec. 2.

The group's chief economist, John Heimlich, said Thursday that rising personal incomes and job growth are helping boost demand for travel.

But the increase in passengers will be offset by additional seats and flights, so planes will be about equally full as last Thanksgiving, said a spokeswoman for the trade group. This year, American, Delta and JetBlue have increased passenger-carrying capacity — that usually means more flights or bigger planes — while United and Southwest have operated close to their 2013 capacity.

Last year, the airlines' Thanksgiving travel forecast turned out to be too high by about 3 percent. Heimlich blamed bad weather that caused widespread flight cancelations.

And historically, the crowds have been worse. Even if airlines meet this year's forecast, Thanksgiving travel would still be about 6 percent lower than it was before the recession that began in 2008.

The airlines are doing well financially by taking a go-slow approach to adding new seats and raising fares and fees. In the first nine months of this year, the nine biggest U.S. airlines reported earnings of $6.8 billion, up from $4.5 billion a year earlier, according to the trade group. U.S. airfares rose 4.7 percent this summer from the same months last summer, after adjusting for inflation.

businessBusiness & Real EstateThanksgivingtravelU.S. airlines

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

U.S. Attorney David Anderson announces federal firearms charges against two men for their roles in a March 2019 shooting outside the Fillmore Heritage Center in a news conference alongside SFPD staff at the Phillip Burton Federal Building on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Departing U.S. attorney predicts corruption probe will continue

David Anderson shook up City Hall as top federal prosecutor

Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, a former school board member, has been asked to help secure an agreement between the school district and teacher’s union. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
 <ins></ins>
Supervisor Walton tapped to mediate teacher contract talks

District and union at odds over hours in-person students should be in the classroom

California is set to receive supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is still under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Courtesy photo)
California could receive 380K doses of new J&J COVID vaccine next week

California could receive 380,300 doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine… Continue reading

Disability advocates protested outside the home of San Francisco Health Officer Tomas Aragon. (Courtesy Brooke Anderson)
Vaccine rollout plan for people with disabilities remains deeply flawed

On February 13, disability activists paid a visit to the house of… Continue reading

A Bay Area Concrete Recycling facility that opened on PG&E property in 2019. Former PG&E employees have been accused of accepting bribes from Bay Area Concrete. (Courtesy of Bay Area Concrete Recycling via ProPublica)
Lawsuit reveals new allegations against PG&E contractor accused of fraud

By Scott Morris Bay City News Foundation Utility giant Pacific Gas &… Continue reading

Most Read