Thanksgiving holiday airline travel is expected to increase for 2010, compared to 2009, according to the Air Transportation Assn. Of America, the industry trade group for the nation's largest airlines. They have predicted that the number of air travelers will increase by 3.5% this year, compared to 2009, with a total of 24 million Americans traveling by air during the November 19 through November 30 period.
This forecast for Thanksgiving holiday airline travel continues the trend of increased demand. August 2010 was the eighth straight month of airline revenue growth, compared to the same months in 2009. Airline passengers have also seen higher ticket prices. However, U.S. airline travel pales in comparison to where it was at ten years ago. In 2000, 6.2 million passengers flew during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, compared to just 2.3 million last Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Many holiday travelers dread airport crowds during the season. However, according to official government data, when it comes to the number of airline flights, the day before Thanksgiving does not even rank among the top 25 busiest travel days. According to data, the busiest airline travel days (the days with the most flights) are Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.
For example, according to the government data, on Friday, July 18, 2008, there were 21,128 air passenger flights in the U.S. On Wednesday, November 26, 2008, the day before Thanksgiving, there were only 18,855 flights.
Alaska Airlines is offering a nice perk for Thanksgiving holiday travelers this year. For a limited time, the airline is offering free Wi-Fi on its flights, courtesy of the Honda Corporation. Free Wi-Fi on its planes is available through December 9, 2010. More than 70 percent of Alaska's Boeing 737 fleet has in-flight Internet. Alaska normally charges between $4.95 and $12.95 for Wi-Fi use, depending on the type of device used and length of flight.