Airline trade group says 73% of flights are less than half full

Airline passenger mask 2
Photo Credit: Viktor Gladkov/

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of U.S. airline flights were less than half full during the most recent week of operations, according to industry lobbying group Airlines for America. 

Only 8.5% of U.S. airline flights were more than 70% full, Airlines for America said. 

Airlines for America released these stats amid concern about crowding on planes as passenger traffic creeps up while flight schedules remain sharply reduced. Notably, the leading Democrat on both the House transportation committee and the Senate commerce committee have called for seat blocking or capacity limitations on aircraft to support social distancing. 

On Tuesday, American and Southwest reported that load factors in May are still extremely low by historical standards but have risen significantly since April. American is reporting a 35% load factor in May following 15% in April, while Southwest expects its May load factor to be between 25% and 30% compared with 8% last month. 

Airlines for America has launched a public awareness campaign called “Fly Healthy. Fly Smart.” It’s designed to educate travelers about steps airlines are taking to enhance health safety and to remind the public of steps passengers can take to help prevent Covid-19 spread.


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