ABC’s Lisa Stark from Washington:
It turns out that President–Elect Barack Obama is already having a positive economic impact on one key industry –- the airlines.
So many people want to travel to Washington D.C. for the January 20th inauguration, that airlines are now adding flights and bigger planes to accommodate the hordes.
Southwest Airlines today announced it is adding a whopping 26 flights into Washington area airports between January 17th and January 23rd. Tomorrow, Delta will update its computer reservations systems to add 600 seats from Atlanta to D.C. around inauguration day. Delta is doing that mainly by switching to bigger planes on its usual routes.
JetBlue is adding four round trips, including one route it doesn’t currently fly — a non-stop from Chicago O’Hare to Washington Dulles. Continental too says its passengers will have more options. Air Tran has added four flights. US Airways says it expects to boost seats as well, but no details have yet been worked out. American Airlines hasn’t not yet added flights, but it may well do so as the date gets closer
JetBlue says its bookings are double what they usually see in January. . All the airlines say they continue to watch reservations, and could add even more seats if the demand is there.
Northwest, which is now a subsidiary of Delta, is also adding 500 seats to DC from Detroit, Memphis and Minneapolis.
Lets face it, if you’re booking a leisure trip that month, it’s usually to someplace warm, not chilly Washington D.C. But many Americans see January 20th as a day that will warm their hearts, and they want to be on hand for it. The airlines are glad for the business and happy to oblige.