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Thanksgiving 2012: Expect Busier Airports & Packed Planes For Holiday Travel

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Nov 07, 2012 05:07 PM EST

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Thanksgiving Travel
Expect airports to be busy this Thanksgiving.(Photo : Reuters)

Thanksgiving travel is going to be booming this holiday, but it isn't necessarily going to be enjoyable. Besides high airfare costs, airports are expected to be busier and planes will be fuller than usual this holiday season.

According to the Associated Press, Airlines for American predicts that 24 million people will travel by plane from Nov. 16, through Tuesday, Nov. 27 for Thanksgiving on Nov. 22.

This high expected amount of travelers shows an increase from 2011, but it isn't quite as high as travel during 2006 and 2007, when about 26.2 million people traveled. The increase can be blamed on a slight economic recovery. 

With more people traveling during Thanksgiving, planes are expected to be up to 90 percent full on average, which would be a record. Most flights will be completely full, according to the Associated Press.

The busiest travel day during the Thanksgiving travel period is expected to be Sunday, Nov. 25. Other busy days include Wednesday, Nov. 21 and Monday, Nov. 26. The lightest travel day will be Thanksgiving Day.

Flights will be packed, not only because of more travelers, but also because of less flights. Airlines has consistently reduced the number of flights due to a low demand. This also allows them to raise airfares. 

"We are expecting planes to be full as more travelers head to the sky and airlines more closely match their capacity to demand, to offset what are expected to be record fuel prices," Jean Medina, spokeswoman for Airlines for America said, according to USA Today.

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According to AP, domestic flight airfares are up four percent compared to last year and fares are expected to increase even further. 

Reducing the amount of flights also allows airlines to save money on high fuel costs. According to AP, the US airlines industry saw a 5.6 percent revenue increase in the first nine months of 2012, while fuel costs rose by 6.2 percent, which means the airline lost out on some revenue. 

According to Airlines for America, the top US airlines only made 50 cents from each passenger they carried from January to September. 

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