Welcome to the Busiest Labor Day Weekend of Air Travel
Did you fly somewhere this Labor Day weekend? If the airport crowds seemed larger than usual, there's a reason. Airlines for America estimates that 16.1 million Americans are taking to the skies this busy travel weekend. This is a 5% jump from last year's record 15.4 million travelers over the same seven-day period.
While the airports may feel as hectic as ever, you might actually feel less crowded once on-board. Airlines ramped up capacity to handle the onslaught of travelers; with 770,000 additional people expected to fly this Labor Day weekend, airlines added around 930,000 additional seats. It seems that the airlines are really hoping to avoid making the news and/or paying out large sums of money for flyers that volunteer to give up their seats.
The good news is that the worst of the airport crowds is now behind us. The two busiest days for travel this weekend were expected to be Friday and Thursday, respectively. Saturday and Sunday are believed to be the lightest days of the seven-day travel period as most vacationers enjoy time at their destinations. Planes will be full again Monday as travelers head home ahead of work on Tuesday, a day likely to be a bit less busy as those with flexible schedules make moves.
Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time if you're flying on Monday or Tuesday. While it's far too late to get signed up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry for this trip, long security lines may have you longing for the PreCheck check mark on your boarding pass.
TPG recommends getting Global Entry — particularly using a credit card that will reimburse the application fee. If you're looking for the fastest way to get that coveted check mark, here's how to find a TSA PreCheck enrollment center nearest to you. It'll come in handy the next time you're flying one of the 37 participating airlines.
Do you have Global Entry or TSA PreCheck yet?