Thanksgiving Flights Will Be Packed & Even More Expensive This Year

Things we are grateful for: Turkey, mashed potatoes, loved ones and post-feast naps. Thing we are not grateful for: Crowded airports, packed airplanes and fares that cost an arm and a leg just so you can get home in time to argue with your uncle about politics. Steel yourselves, fellow travelers. This holiday season sounds like it’s going to be a doozy.

Industry group Airlines for America is predicting airports to be crammed and flights to be fuller than they were last Thanksgiving, with the busiest day falling on Sunday, Nov. 25., reports the Associated Press. Almost 24 million people are expected to fly between Friday, Nov. 16 and Tuesday, Nov. 27.

That’s an increase of about 150,000 passengers from next year, so not a huge bump. It’s also well below the peak travel years of 2006 and 2007.

If you’re hoping for some elbow room by way of an empty seat next to you, don’t bank on that, either. Planes are expected to be close to 90% full on the busiest days around Thanksgiving like Wednesday, Nov. 21, which would be a record.

The reason planes will be packed is simply because there will bess of them taking to the air this year, and because of that decrease in flights, airlines can then afford to hike prices. Meanwhile, they’re also saving money by not having to buy as much fuel, so it’s a win-win for the airlines.

If you’re flying somewhere you’ve likely already bought your ticket and experienced that pain in your pocket. We’re with you — I know I about fainted dead away over a month ago when trying to buy a ticket that wouldn’t force me to eat saltines for a month just to afford it.

Busier airports, full planes seen on Thanksgiving [Associated Press]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.