Flying over the holidays? Expect to be crowded

Air Transport Association says air travel will decline 2.5% this holiday season, but planes will still be at capacity.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer

Which type of investments will you focus on in 2010?
  • U.S. stocks
  • Emerging markets
  • Bonds
  • Commodities
  • Iím sticking with old-fashioned bank accounts

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Passengers will still be packed like sardines into planes this holiday season, despite projections for less-crowded skies.

On Thursday, the Air Transport Association of America released its forecast that 2.5% fewer people will fly during the 21-day holiday season, spanning from Dec. 17 to Jan. 6, compared to last year. But that still leaves 41 million people catching flights.

And they will be crowded into planes, according to the industry group, because airlines have scaled back the number of flights to save money in the face of rising fuel prices and the recession.

"Capacity reductions will likely mean fuller flights on many days," said ATA President James May, in a press release.

The "fragile economy" is the primary culprit for the decline in passengers, according to the ATA. But spokesman David Castelveter noted that the decrease is less dramatic than in the Thanksgiving travel period, which was forecast to fall 4% compared to the prior year. (Results were not immediately available.)

"You're seeing some improvement," he said. "I think these numbers reflect that there is some growing confidence by travelers."

Castelveter added that the moderate decline, combined with the federal government's decision to open military airspace to commercial air travel during the busiest days, will help to relieve congestion in the air.

The busiest travel days during the winter travel season are Dec. 27, 28 and 29, according to the ATA. To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
7 epic gadget flops From the Microsoft Zune to the BlackBerry PlayBook, the Fire Phone is following in some unfortunate footsteps. More
What I gave up to save $1 million They may have million dollar-plus nest eggs, but they had to make some big sacrifices along the way to get there. Here's what these four savers did without in order to save seven-figures retirement. More
World's Top Employers for New Grads For an exclusive CNNMoney list, research firm Universum Global surveyed college students around the world to see where they most want to work. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.