With load factors pushing and sometimes exceeding 80 percent, planes and airports can’t get much more crowded than they have been for the last half of this year. In fact, the airlines association has predicted that the numbers of travelers this holiday season will be less (gasp) than last year. But load factors will be up.
It seems that everyone wants to talk about the crush of holiday travel when I’m called for radio interviews between Thanksgiving and Christmas. While, historically, the holidays have been the period when planes used to be fullest and when airports seemed the most crowded, that is no longer strictly the case. A Wednesday in the middle of March or midweek after the 4th of July weekend might see as much traffic as the day before Christmas Eve or the day after New Year. The airlines have seized control of their capacity and simply do not have as many seats to sell today as they had a year ago.