Air Transport Association Expects 24 Million Air Travelers Over 12-Day Thanksgiving Holiday Period

Stronger Economy Projected to Fuel a 3.5 Percent Increase

The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade association for the leading U.S. airlines, today said that it expects a 3.5 percent year-over-year increase in the number of passengers (1)traveling on U.S. airlines during the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday season (2). A total of 24 million air travelers are projected over the period, with daily passenger volumes ranging from 1.3 million to 2.5 million.
“It is reassuring to see travel levels rebounding, with the stronger economy,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May. “While modest, the recovery is particularly encouraging given the deep hole that this industry was in a year ago.”
As typical with the Thanksgiving holiday travel period, average daily load factors will approach 90 percent on the busiest days. Based on sample data from Thanksgiving 2009, the four busiest travel days of the 12-day period are expected to be Sunday, Nov. 28, Monday, Nov. 29, Friday, Nov. 19 and Wednesday, Nov. 24, respectively. Thursday, Nov. 25, is anticipated to be the least busy day.
May encourages passengers to pack light, if possible, to check their flight status before leaving for the airport, and to remember to arrive early.
“During this busy travel period, passengers should provide plenty of time for airport check-in and security screening,” said May.
In addition, ATA encourages passengers to consult its resource page for recommended travel tips.
In particular, passengers are encouraged to:

  • Review the website of the airline on which they are flying for respective policies, amenities, customer service plans and flight-operation alert notifications.
  • If reservations were made prior to Nov. 1, passengers should contact their airline or booking source 72 hours prior to arriving at the airport to ensure their full name, date of birth, gender, and Redress number (if applicable) are included as part of their reservations as required by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Secure Flight program.
  • Download the MyTSA mobile application for airport status and screening checkpoint wait times, information on the 3-1-1 Rule for liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on bags, as well as the handling of food/gifts.

Annually, commercial aviation helps drive more than $1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and nearly 11 million U.S. jobs. ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. For more information about the airline industry, visit and follow us on Twitter @airlinesassn.
(1) The total number of revenue passengers boarding aircraft in scheduled service.
(2) Defined as Friday, Nov. 19 through Tuesday, Nov. 30.