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Labor Day getaways sparking record air travel

Key Points
  • The number of Labor Day weekend travelers is expected to jump 5 percent from last year's record.
  • A strong economy and low unemployment are boosting travel numbers.
View from Hermosa Beach Pier looking north toward Manhattan Beach Pier in California.
Ian Logan | Getty Images

The last big travel weekend of the summer will truly be a big one in the air.

A new report by the airline industry estimates the number of people taking a trip for some or all of Labor Day weekend will jump 5 percent compared from last year, which was an all-time record.

Overall, an estimated 16.1 million people are expected to fly between Wednesday, Aug. 30 and Tuesday, Sept. 5, according to Airlines For America, an industry trade group.

What's behind the rise in late summer travel?

A strong economy, low unemployment and relatively low fares are a combination prompting Americans to book trips for Labor Day.

"While we expect a growth in passenger traffic over the Labor Day holiday, flyers can rest assured that U.S. airlines have appropriately increased the number of seats available for late summer getaways," said John Heimlich, vice president and chief economist of Airlines For America.

All together, airlines are adding about 113,000 seats to routes that running close to capacity.

Which days will be busiest for flying? 

Friday, Sept. 1; Thursday, Aug. 31 and Monday, Sept. 4 should be the busiest.

The airlines say the busiest airports are likely to be Los Angeles International, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International and Chicago's O'Hare International.