Blue Skies for Thanksgiving Travelers

It looks like a very good day for holiday travelers, according to word this morning from the Federal Aviation Administration Command Center. There are about 6,000 flights in the air this morning and that number will climb to 7,000 per hour throughout the day. In all the FAA expects about 50,000 flights today before the Thanksgiving holiday. Weather is good up and down the East coast. The FAA will keep its eye on wind at Newark and rain in Las Vegas. The Air Transport Association expects 10 percent fewer passengers this year, but planes will still be packed because airlines have trimmed capacity. Data released Tuesday from the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), the data clearinghouse between airlines and travel agents, also revealed an interesting change in Thanksgiving holiday travel patterns. ARC spokesman Allan Mutén said passengers are leaving later and returning earlier than they have during the past two years. ARC's data, based on purchased tickets, finds Thanksgiving travel will peak today rather than the weekend before the holiday. The company also found flights will begin picking up again on Friday rather than on Saturday or Sunday. "The findings show startling differences compared to preceding years," said Mutén in the company's press release. ARC's numbers looked at sales through November 16 so they do not include any last minute discounted air fares. -ABC News' Matt Hosford

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