Labor Day travel period 2016 at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. JOHN SPINK /JSPINK@AJC.COM

Record crowds expected at airports over Labor Day travel period

A record 17.5 million passengers are forecast to fly on U.S. airlines over the Labor Day travel period, according to an airline industry group.

The travel period for the holiday starts Wednesday Aug. 28 before Labor Day and runs through Tuesday Sept. 3 after the holiday. The forecast from industry group Airlines for America amounts to a 4 percent increase in traffic during that period compared with last year.

The busiest day is expected to be Friday Aug. 30 before Labor Day, which is among the 25 busiest days of the year, according to Airlines for America chief economist John Heimlich.

Other busy days will be Thursday Aug. 29 and Labor Day Monday Sept. 2.

There will be much lighter traffic on the Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day, which are among the least busy days of the year, according to Heimlich.

Airlines for America said carriers are still coping with a reduction of more than 300 daily flights due to the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX, but are adding 109,000 seats a day to their schedules to handle the busy Labor Day period.

Travelers at Hartsfield-Jackson International should get to the airport early to allow time to get through traffic congestion due to construction around the terminal, and to get through security lines that have caused waits of 45 minutes or longer during busy periods. Lines extend through the terminal atrium and into baggage claim during peak travel times.

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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.