Airlines and airports are adding more muscle to prepare for what they expect to be the busiest holiday travel season, ever.
This year, officials expect to see 30 million passengers between November 17-27, which is up by 10% from last year.
“This is shaping up to be a record-setting year,” said Airlines for America CEO Nick Calio, told Good Morning America.
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Airlines are preparing for the influx of passengers by adding tens of thousands of new employees. Some airports have even been holding hiring fairs as they staff up to meet increasing demands.
American Airlines has expanded schedules and larger planes. United Airlines added over 500,000 seats for the season, according to the outlet.
“We’re going to carry more customers than we ever have before, about half a million more than last year,” American Airlines COO, David Seymour, told ABC News.
The anticipated holiday travel rush comes after last year’s Christmas fiasco that was plagued with more than 7,400 flight delays, according to The New York Times.
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However, this year is already off to a better start, with only a 1.7% cancellation rate in the first eight months compared to 2022’s cancellation rate of 3%, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report for August.
Despite the decrease in cancellations, the Department of Transportation received 24,965 complaints during the first quarter of 2023, up 88.4% from last year’s 13,252 complaints for Q1, according to the department’s 1st Quarter 2023 Airline Complaint Data.
As for what flyers can do to prepare for the unexpected travel hiccup, Seymour recommends customers arrive for their flights early and download the airline’s app for status updates — but some things are out of our hands.
“My No. 1 recommendation to people would be [to] pray for good weather,” he said on GMA. “That is always the key.”