If you plan to fly for the Thanksgiving holiday, you can practically give up on the idea of having an empty seat next to you.
On the busiest travel days before and after Thanksgiving Day, the average flight is expected to be 90% full, according to Airlines for America, the trade group for the nation's largest airlines.
In contrast, the average flight throughout 2011 was 82% full, according to federal statistics. The rate of filled seats on planes, known as the "load factor," has risen over the last few years as airlines have merged, cut less profitable routes and consolidated flights.
The trade group warned that flights will be especially crowded Wednesday, Nov. 21, Sunday, Nov. 25, and Monday, Nov. 26.
About 24 million Americans are expected to fly from Nov. 16 to Nov. 27, a 3% increase over the same period in 2011, according to Airlines for America.