If you plan on traveling for Thanksgiving expect a packed airport and flight. Even though fewer people plan on flying this Thanksgiving holiday; you will still see seats full between the 12 day period of Friday, November 18 through Tuesday, November 29. The busiest days being: Sunday, November 27, Monday, November 28, and Friday, November 18 with the least traveling on Thanksgiving day, Thursday, November 24.
According to a forecast by the Air Transport Association of America there will be around 23.2 millions travelers flying during the Thanksgiving holiday. A 2 percent drop from last year or 37,000 less people flying.
“Major carriers such as American Airlines (NYSE: AMR ), US Airways (NYSE: LCC ) and Delta (NYSE: DAL ) are reducing the number of destinations they fly to or even flying less frequently to popular routes in order to cut costs.”
ATA Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich said in a statement:
“While demand is down from last year and remains well below the 2006 peak, passengers still should expect full flights during the Thanksgiving holiday travel season as airlines have begun to reduce capacity and limit the number of seats available for sale due in part to rising cost pressures. Based on published airline schedules, these cuts are expected to continue through the winter.”
According to a report by Hotwire, a travel website, as of November 1, 2011, more than 82 percent of those people planning on traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday, have not booked their plane tickets or made travel arrangements. Which means, those travelers will have to pay more for their last minute airfares and traveling plans like last minute hotel bookings as well.
U.S. passenger airlines publicly reporting shows a net income of $913 million for the first nine months of 2011, with operating revenues rising $11.7 billion, or 12.7 percent, operating expenses also rose $13.8 billion, or 16 percent. Reducing net income 66 percent from the same period in 2010, and resulting in a slender profit margin of 0.9 percent.
“A key factor was a 38 percent rise in fuel costs during the period. Higher costs have outpaced higher revenues thus far this year, and the industry’s razor-thin profit margin means that airlines are keeping less than one penny in profit for every $1 in revenue,” Heimlich said. “It’s not surprising we’ve seen a trend towards reduction of seating capacity.”