25 million flying for Thanksgiving
If you are planning to travel this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, you certainly will not be alone. Airlines for America is projecting that 24.6 million passengers will travel worldwide during the 12-day Thanksgiving travel period, a slight increase over last year.
The holiday air travel period will go from Nov. 21 through Dec. 2 with the busiest travel days in order expected to be Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and Nov. 26. The lightest travel days will be Nov. 27-28.
"As for daily travel during the Thanksgiving period, we're expecting an average of 2.05 million passengers per day, which is up 1.5 percent or approximately 31,000 passengers per day from the same period in 2013," said John Heimlich, vice president and chief economist of Airlines for America. "The number of daily passengers expected to fly during the holiday ranges from 1.36 million on Thanksgiving day to 2.61 million on the Sunday following the holiday."
Last year, the trade group's Thanksgiving travel forecast turned out to be too high by about 3 percent. Heimlich blamed bad weather that caused widespread flight cancellations. Still, if airlines meet this year's forecast, Thanksgiving travel will still be about 6 percent lower than it was before the recession that began in 2008. Currently, airlines are doing well financially because they are limiting the supply of new seats and raising fares. During the first nine months of 2014, the nine largest U.S. carriers reported earnings of $6.8 billion, up from $4.5 billion in 2013.
"An expanding U.S. economy, rising personal incomes, employment growth and lower energy prices are driving growth in demand," Heimlich said. "There is no better time to fly than now, as airfare remains one of the best consumer bargains in America, given its superior speed and price versus other modes of travel."