Planes Packed as Air Travel Soars in July

Record full seats a boon for carriers, a nuisance for passengers
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2007 12:21 PM CDT
For passengers, "It's probably going to be perceived as the worst month ever," says Robert Mann, president of R.W. Mann & Co., a New York-based airline industry consulting firm.   (
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(Newser) – US air travel hit the economic stratosphere in July, crowding the jetliners of seven major carriers with record percentages of filled seats. American, Continental, Delta, US Airways, AirTran, and Alaska Airlines filled up nearly 90% of all seats on domestic flights, more than any month in history.

It's not about snagging tickets for the next flight, says one airline consultant; "it's a question of how many hours — or how many days — it will take until you can get on the next flight." The travel boom is proving a particular pain for frequent fliers that are allowed to change flights without paying fees; they're finding that all the other flights are booked.