Looking to book a holiday flight? Expect a full plane and increasing prices

NEW YORK (AP) - Travelers can expect airports to be busier and planes to be fuller than ever this Thanksgiving. And flights will be costlier.

That's the outlook from the main trade group representing U.S. airlines two weeks ahead of the holiday.

If you're traveling for Thanksgiving, or even Christmas, travel experts suggest booking as soon as possible before the prices soar even higher in the last-minute crunch.

Airlines for America expects nearly 24 million travelers to fly from Friday, Nov. 16, through Tuesday, Nov. 27. That's up about 150,000 travelers rom a year earlier. Last year's tally was flat from 2010.

For those traveling on the busiest days around Thanksgiving, planes are expected to be close to 90 percent full, the trade group says. That would be a record for the holiday.

Airlines have been reducing flights to better match demand, which in turn allows them to raise prices. Domestic ticket prices are up 4 percent from 2011, according to the group.

If you don't want as much company, experts say consider flying on Thanksgiving Day. Also consider booking at alternate airports that may offer lower fares.

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