Have recent airplane trips left you feeling a bit…. cramped? Does it seem that airplane overhead bins have shrunk in recent years? Does finding an open seat on your flight to Chicago – or anywhere for that matter - seem like a lost cause? Well, good news. It’s not your imagination. In fact, flight occupancy’s are at an almost 70 year high. Bill Poling of Travel Weekly reports on the recent Transportation Department’s findings.

The Transportation Department released its final tally of U.S. airline traffic data for 2012, reporting that U.S. airlines’ load factor for the year averaged 82.8%, the highest percentage since 1945.

In domestic scheduled service, the average load factor was even higher at 83.4%.

Among other highlights of the year, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics said, “For the third consecutive year, Delta carried more total system passengers in 2012 than any other airline. Southwest carried more domestic passengers than any other U.S. airline for the ninth consecutive year and the newly-merged United carried the most international passengers.

“The top 10 US airlines carried 80% of system-wide passengers, an increase from the 75.5% carried by the U.S. airlines that were in the top 10 during 2011.”

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