FareCompare Labs: Memorial Day Flight Trends

Memorial Day Flight Trends

Memorial Day is hardly the busiest holiday for the nation’s airlines-that honor is split between two November dates: the Wednesday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

But plenty of people will be hitting the road-and the skies-later this month. Look for about 2.1 million Americans to travel by air over the Memorial Day weekend (that’s 7% of all travelers-most of the others will be getting into their cars).

According to FareCompare’s data, on Friday, May 22, 2009-25,500+ flights will take off-however, the year before, that figure was nearly 28,000 flights. The numbers tell a similar story for the Saturday before Memorial Day: this year, there will be 19,900 flights-last year, there were 22,200.

Clearly the economy is an issue that continues to haunt would-be tourists; after all, they have been bombarded with cheap airfare sales throughout the spring with many of these deals continuing throughout the summer and yet, sales are down. According to an Associated Press poll, only 42% of Americans are planning a leisure trip this summer.

Yet, it’s a great time to fly. Take a look at this FareCompare year-long historical graph showing prices for flights from Los Angeles to Chicago-from May of last year to this year. You can clearly see how prices have been dropping-from a high of about $300 in July 2008 to about $200 now.

But the good news is, people are still traveling. Wonder where they’re all going? To perennially popular spots: the top three Memorial Day Weekend travel destinations are 1.) Las Vegas, 2.) New York City, and 3.) Orlando.