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Travelers face high flying airfares for Thanksgiving

Thursday - 11/8/2012, 9:48am  ET

Andrew Mollenbeck, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Turkeys don't fly, but a lot of travelers hope to fly for Thanksgiving. And that's just the problem.

Some of the busiest travel days of the year surround the Thanksgiving holiday. And passengers still looking to purchase plane tickets will likely find full flights and high prices.

The average round-trip domestic ticket is 9 percent more expensive this year than last, according to Travelocity data.

When looking for tickets, the website says $386 should be the price to beat.

"If you want to leave on the two worst days — Wednesday before Thanksgiving and come back the Sunday after — then you'll have to refinance your home," says Tom Parsons, chief executive officer of Bestfares.com.

For the cheapest fares, he recommends looking for outbound flights on Thanksgiving Day and returning sometime Tuesday.

"If you can adjust your travel dates, you can save as much as $288 on your Thanksgiving airfare," Courtney Scott, a senior editor at Travelocity, says in a news release.

The entire travel period from Nov. 16 through Nov. 27 could be more cramped than ever.

Airlines for America expects planes to be filled to about 90 percent of capacity, which would be a record for the holiday. Nearly 24 million travelers are expected to fly between Nov. 16 and Nov. 27, the trade group says.

Thanksgiving air travel peaked in 2006 and 2007, according to the trade group.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)