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Turkey day air travel forecast: full flights

WASHINGTON — Passengers may have to compete with slightly fewer people getting to the airport this Thanksgiving, but flights will be as full as ever, airline industry officials said Thursday.

The Air Transport Association’s annual Thanksgiving travel forecast predicts 37,000 fewer passengers per day — about a 2 percent drop — over the holiday period compared to last year.

But U.S. carriers have reduced capacity to match demand and offset higher costs, the association said. That means few empty seats.

About 23.2 million air travelers will fly on U.S. carriers’ domestic and international routes during a 12-day period surrounding the holiday, down from the 23.6 million people who flew over the Thanksgiving period in 2010, said the association, which represents leading carriers.

The busiest air-travel days for the period are expected to be Sunday, Nov. 27 and Monday, Nov. 28, followed by Friday, Nov. 18.

AIRLINES RAISE FARES

US Airways and Delta Air Lines Inc. are raising fares on many U.S. flights by up to $10 per round trip, and other airlines are tinkering with prices too.

United and Continental raised the minimum prices they’ll charge on sales and certain other fares, a spokesman said Thursday. The US Airways increase appeared to target business travelers.

The moves are the latest attempt by airlines to boost revenue during a normally slow time of year for travel.

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