Busiest air travel day of the year? Not quite


by JOE FRYER / KING 5 News


Posted on November 24, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 24 at 6:57 PM

SEA-TAC AIRPORT, Wash. -- The day before Thanksgiving is often called the busiest travel day of the year.  But when it comes to air travel, that's a myth.

"This is not our busiest time of the year," said Sea-Tac Airport spokesman Perry Cooper. "In fact, it doesn't even come close to our average day during the summer."

Sea-Tac Airport is expecting 89,000 passengers Wednesday, which is not even considered the busiest travel day of this holiday weekend. About 90,000 people are expected at the airport this upcoming Sunday.

What's the busiest day?  It varies from year to year, but it always falls in the summer. In 2009, June 19 was the busiest day. 

"That's not sticking in my head as anything important," said traveler Rachel Baer. "Is it supposed to?"

It was a Friday during the summer, which is like a holiday for many.

"That's essentially when everyone grabs the kids, puts them on a plane and heads out for vacation," Cooper said.

June, July and August are the busiest months at Sea-Tac Airport, which averages 97,000 passengers each day during the summer.

So far in 2010, the busiest days have been August 8 and 15, Cooper added.

As for this Thanksgiving Eve, most passengers did not notice major delays. 

"I thought it was going to be horrible," said Debra Loyd, who arrived in Seattle from Las Vegas Wednesday afternoon.  "It wasn't bad at all.  It took me like five minutes to get through [security]."

Baer always thought this was the busiest day of the year and appreciates learning that it's just a myth.

"I regret getting up at 5 in the morning to prepare for the busiest day -- and it was not," she said.  "I could've slept."