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Summer forecast: Delays, frustration, and high fares

Most experts are predicting domestic flights will be about 10 percent more crowded this summer than they were last year. That’s good news for the airlines and not-so-good news for travelers.

More travelers means fuller flights, which in turn means overcrowded airports, less wiggle room in coach class, and higher fares—the three things I hate most about summer travel. In fact, the number of available domestic seats is already down about two percent year over year (while international capacity is up about five percent). Anyone who’s paid attention to the industry knows this is a result of a) the major airlnes’ increased focus on international routes, and b) to a lesser extent the demise of D.C.-based Independence Air.

What this all means, on a practical level, is that now more than ever it’s critical to know the basics of booking airfare—or risk paying even more than usual for a summer flight.

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