The miserably full flights of 2007 might seem like a good reason for airlines to roll out a few more planes and ease the crowding.
But passengers should expect just the opposite: some big airlines are planning to reduce domestic capacity in 2008 with the hope of driving fares higher to offset rising fuel costs. Barring a recession that reduces demand for air travel, travelers can expect flying to be more crowded and more expensive than it was in 2007.
Because full flights cause airlines all sorts of operational problems, travelers should also brace for continuing problems with delays and misplaced bags. That means the chance of being bumped from an oversold flight could be greater, and finding a seat on a later flight will take longer.