If you're one of the 4.54 million people planning to board a plane during the Thanksgiving holiday, rest well knowing that--in terms of flight delays--this year is predicted to be much less stressful than last year.
That's mostly due to the 12% decrease in flights for the fall of 2008, as well as the U.S. government's move to open military airspace, particularly in the Midwest, Southwest and West Coast, during that weekend. Also, 7.2% fewer people are flying during the holiday this year, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), an organization of independent clubs that provides travel services to consumers.
That's all good news. However, Washington, D.C.-based trade group Air Transport Association of America says that on the three busiest days of the Thanksgiving season--Nov. 26, 30 and Dec. 1--flights across the country, on average, will be 90% full.
That means in a region like the Northeast, where air traffic is heavy and major airports lack sophisticated facilities--they're in need of renovations and often lack the space to accommodate all the passengers they receive--planes are more likely to be 100% full or overbooked, says Seth Kaplan, managing partner at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based industry trade publication Airline Weekly.