U.S. skies and roads less crowded

Dec. 16, 2008 at 1:21 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The Air Transportation Association said 9 percent fewer U.S. travelers will fly this holiday season, a drop observers say is prompting fare discounts.

"I haven't seen a holiday season like this since 9/11," Tom Parsons of Bestfares.com told USA Today, referring to 2001, when travel dropped sharply following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Parsons said airfares will continue to drop in 2009, going so far as to suggest passengers who bought tickets for travel next year consider turning in their tickets, accepting airline cancellation fees and purchasing cheaper tickets in January.

Even with cancellation fees as high as $150, passengers could still save money, he said.

Chief Executive Officer of FareCompare.com Rick Seaney suggested deal-seekers book a flight on the slower travel days, such as Dec. 25 or Jan 1., the newspaper said.

U.S roads are also less crowded these days. The Department of Transportation said U.S. motorists drove 100 billion fewer miles from October 2007 to October 2008 than they did in the preceding 12 months.

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