Adam Minter predicts Thanksgiving-type travel days year-round in coming years:
[E]ven with billions worth of improvements in the pipeline, the picture for travelers remains bleak. Of the 30 busiest U.S. airports (accounting for 70 percent of total U.S. passenger flow), 13 already feel like the day before Thanksgiving one day a week on average. Three airports — Midway, Las Vegas McCarran, and Orlando International — suffer those levels of congestion twice a week. Worse yet, the capacity improvements that are currently slated won’t help much. Within six years, the study notes, 27 of the 30 busiest airports will be Thanksgiving-busy at least once a week.
That this state of affairs is unnatural should be apparent to anyone who flies outside the U.S. even occasionally. In 2011, the World Economic Forum ranked U.S. aviation infrastructure 32nd in the world — behind Malaysia (an assessment that, in my personal experience, remains accurate). This is both embarrassing and somewhat predictable. Developing countries such as Malaysia strongly subsidize airports and airlines, viewing them as important marketing opportunities and first-impression makers.
Clive Irving hates how airlines jam so many seats into coach: