Friday to be busiest day in aviation history, industry group predicts
May 21, 1998
Web posted at: 11:28 a.m. EST (1628 GMT)
Updated May 22, 1998 at 12:10 pm
(CNN) -- If your holiday plans call for plane travel this weekend, you had better leave early and be prepared for delays -- the busiest day in aviation history may be on the way.
The nation's airports will be packed this Memorial Day weekend, when millions take to the skies for the beginning of the summer season. Friday is expected to break aviation records, according to the Air Transport Association, with more than 2 million people crowding through airports. Another 2 million will beat the rush, the organization said, and create a rush of their own on Thursday.
"Air travel is growing rapidly and this Memorial Day, more people will travel in a single day than ever before," said ATA president Carol B. Hallett.
The organization said that as many as 83 percent of all seats on the country's airlines could be filled.
Tips to make the trip smoother:
Allow time for traffic, parking delays and long check-in lines
Clearly mark your bags, inside and out; remove old airport tags
Keep your carry-ons to a minimum; several airlines have cracked down
United Airlines, the country's largest, has booked more than 300,000 passengers to fly on Friday. Depending on the number of no-shows, passengers flying United could set a record for that airline. The previous record is 284,077 from August 29, 1977. Airlines typically have up to 15 percent in no-shows.
"The summer is typically our biggest travel period, and the Memorial Day holiday is thought of as the start of the summer," said United spokesman Joe Hopkins.
The ATA said that Tuesday would be the busiest day for air passengers returning from the holiday, with more than 1.8 million people flying. Overall, the organization expects 12.5 million travelers will fly over the weekend, from Wednesday through next Tuesday.
AAA is also predicting record numbers of Americans will be driving and
flying over the Memorial Day Weekend. According to AAA, 32.1 million people will travel 100 miles (160 kilometers) or more from home for the holiday weekend. That's up one percent over last year.
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