Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Green Skies, Nothin' But Green Skies ...

I'm looking at and the FAA traffic site, with the online maps showing real-time airline flight delays today, and green dots mark most of the nation's airports. Green dots mean, no significant delays. The only problems I see are some slight routine delays caused by low clouds in the New York area. {Update: 6 p.m. -- And some delays in South Florida because of thunderstorms, not heavy traffic.}

Will all of those people hyping the usual holiday travel-hysteria follow up on reality? Place yer bets.

The Air Transport Association predicted that Thanksgiving holiday air travel would be off 4 percent this year -- at a time when domestic airline capacity is five percent less than it was this time last year.

That math means, planes are mostly all full. But the system has been running at well over 80 percent load factors -- the percentage of seats filled by paying customers -- for over a year now. At 80+ percent systemwide, most flights are full.

I've had to deflect several media calls in the last few days asking for comments on the Thanksgiving crush. Sorry, I've had to say, I don't see one. You can hear the caller deflate at the idea that facts could get in the way of the usual knee-jerk holiday stories.

Yep. The airplanes are full. They were last week, too, and the week before that ...


1 comment:

richmanwisco said...

Believe it or not, (and I'm surprised myself) Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport announced that they expect a record number of passenger movements at MKE this weekend, 210,000 travelers versus the old record of 180,000.

Main reason is the presence of Southwest Airlines and increased flight volume by AirTran.