Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for U.S. airlines, has projected that 45.7 million passengers will travel on U.S. airlines over the 18-day winter holiday travel period from Thursday, December 20, through Sunday, January 6. This would be a 5.2 percent increase over the estimated 43.4 million passengers who flew during the comparable time frame last year.
In order to accommodate the expected average of 2.54 million passengers per day — an increase of 126,000 travelers per day from last year — U.S. airlines will offer an additional 143,000 seats daily across their global networks.
Daily passenger volumes are projected to range from 2.1 to 2.9 million. The busiest expected travel days in ranked order are:
- Friday, December 21
- Thursday, December 20
- Wednesday, December 26
The lightest travel days are expected to be Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, followed by Saturday, January 5.