What to Know If You're Flying This Labor Day Weekend

Airlines for America is out with its annual report.

Miami International Airport
Photo: Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images

Get ready for a very busy Labor Day weekend, even if you’re not heading for the beach.

Airlines for America (A4A) announced that it expects 16.5 million passengers to fly worldwide on U.S. airlines from Wednesday, August 29 through Tuesday, September 4 — a 3.5 percent increase since last year.

That's about 2.36 million passengers traveling on U.S. airlines each day, an increase of 79,000 from last year. In order to accommodate the influx of passengers, airlines will offer 2.76 million seats per day (an increase of 92,000 since 2017).

Travelers who are getting to the airport on Friday, August 31, should leave themselves extra time for lines and security. A4A expects this to be the busiest travel day, with an estimated 2.76 million passengers flying on U.S. airlines worldwide. That matches advice from RewardExpert, which expects Friday and Tuesday, September 4 to be the busiest for the weekend.

Thursday, August 30 and Monday, September 3 should be fairly lighter, with 2.6 and 2.58 million passengers traveling, respectively.

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“This Labor Day, U.S. airlines are enabling more passengers than ever before to take to the skies to see loved ones or visit exciting destinations because of improved accessibility for all,” A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich said in a statement.

He added that the increase of passengers is largely due to air travel’s affordability in 2018, with “inflation-adjusted fares in the first quarter of 2018 averaging 8 percent, or $30, below Q1 2010.”

Airlines have also reported stronger operations, such as on-time arrivals and departures as well as properly handled baggage, and lower rates of customer service complaints for the first quarter of 2018. These factors could also have affected travelers increased ability and willingness to fly over the coming week compared to last year.

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