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 RSS FEEDS (close)
By Aaron Smith, staff writer

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

NEW YORK ( -- 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

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
10 of the most luxurious airline amenity kits When it comes to in-flight pampering, the amenity kits offered by these 10 airlines are the ultimate in luxury More
7 startups that want to improve your mental health From a text therapy platform to apps that push you reminders to breathe, these self-care startups offer help on a daily basis or in times of need. More
5 radical technologies that will change how you get to work From Uber's flying cars to the Hyperloop, these are some of the neatest transportation concepts in the works today. 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

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.