Christmas holiday rush

US Airlines Ready to Fly 2.8 Million Passengers a Day For the Christmas Holiday

US airlines announced that they are prepared to deal with the large influx of passengers this coming Christmas Holiday. They aim to repeat their performance this past Thanksgiving, which saw few flight cancellations. 

US Airlines are Ready for the Christmas Holiday Rush

American Airlines expects December 22, Friday to be the busiest day for this year’s 19-day long holiday travel period that starts on December 20. The country’s largest airline is expecting to fly a total of 12.7 million passengers throughout this year’s Christmas holiday season. 

American Airlines said: “The 2023 holiday period is longer than previous years, reflecting the changing travel habits of our customers and school schedules in many of American’s hub markets.” 

However, different airlines have different peak days. According to a Delta Air Lines spokesperson, their busiest days were spread out having a “seven-way tie.” Also, Delta is expecting approximately 9 million passengers in total. This includes 600,000 customers from December 21 and 22. 

United Airlines, on the other hand, is expecting to fly 9 million passengers, representing a 12% jump from last year. And with its success during Thanksgiving week, the airline is “confident the operation is well-prepared for the holiday season.”

Weather as the X-Factor

The Federal Aviation Administration predicts the Christmas holiday rush to peak on the Thursday before Christmas. The agency is expecting 48,959 flights that day. 

Airlines for America says that 2.8 million passengers are expected to fly each day during this period. That represents a 16% jump from 2022’s number of holiday fliers.  

In a statement, the group said, “U.S. airlines have been working for months to accommodate unprecedented demand throughout the holiday season.”  Some of the challenges faced by the industry included the shortages of pilots and air traffic controllers. 

While Thanksgiving was a sign that things were improving for airlines, favorable weather also played a role in the few cancellations that week.

FlightAware’s data show that US airlines only canceled 329 flights during Thanksgiving week. This represents less than 1% of the total number of flights on Thanksgiving week. According to  Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, weather would be the “x-factor.”


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John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme is a Travel Analyst for The Jet Set. He writes about news and events affecting the travel industry.


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