Holiday travel sees an increase since last year

WASHINGTON (AP) — About 51 million Americans are expected to fly on U.S. airlines in the three weeks around Christmas and New Year’s Day, a 3.5 percent increase over last year.

That’s the forecast Wednesday from Airlines for America, a trade group for most of the leading U.S. airlines.

The group credits an improving economy and airfares that have lagged below the rate of inflation.

The forecast counts domestic and international flights between Dec. 15 and Jan. 4.

That would mean about 80,000 more passengers per day. The trade group says airlines are adding about 91,000 seats per day to handle the crowds.