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Will holiday travel be as busy this year?

November 20, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Thanksgiving traditionally kicks off the holiday travel season. However, Southern California airport officials say they expect to see fewer passengers this year."Passenger volumes for the 10-day holiday traveling period beginning tomorrow, Friday, November 21, through Sunday - the Sunday after Thanksgiving, which is November 30 - are expected drop 14 percent at LAX compared to last year's holiday period. Ontario will drop about 30 percent," said Jeff Fitch, Los Angeles World Airports.

For the airlines, the reduced traffic comes on the heels of the skyrocketing fuel prices over the summer.

Those higher fuel prices forced the airlines to cut back on the number of flights, raise fares and in some cases even start charging for checked baggage.

Some travelers admit the changes, plus the struggling economy, have them rethinking travel plans.

"After this flight right here I'm thinking twice about going again, yeah definitely," said air traveler Tony Turphin.

However, many are still flying and enjoying the shorter lines inside airports.

"Been pretty nice. We only had about 2/3 [of a] full plane. Came in from Naples, Florida ... Gone here for 20 days and back again," said Walter Bertsche, another air traveler.

For the first time in a long time fewer Americans will be flying for the holidays. Perhaps it is one more ominous indication of an economy that is losing altitude.


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