Holiday travel to fall 2.5 percent

The airports may not be as crowded at Christmas this year. The Air Transport Association of America expects holiday flight traffic to fall 2.5 percent from 2008. The holiday period is measured as December 17, 2009 through January 6, 2010. The busiest days in the sky are most likely to be the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday after Christmas.

Don’t expect to have plenty of legroom, though. Part of the decline stems from the fact that airlines have cut flights, so fewer people may be jockeying for fewer seats, leaving you just as cramped as usual. Both the dip in the number of passengers and in the number of flights is a direct result of a recession that has had a magnified effect on the travel market this year.

Last week, Delta, American and United all came out and said that they’re seeing an increase in demand — and from those high-value corporate clients that keep the planes in the air.