Airline trade group predicts Christmas travel will rise 3%

If you're flying over Christmas or New Year's, don't expect room to stretch out on the plane

The trade group Airlines for America said Tuesday that 47.5 million people are expected to fly over an 18-day period from Dec. 19 through Jan. 5.

The busiest days are forecast to be the Friday and Saturday before Christmas and the Thursday and Friday after Christmas, which falls on a Wednesday this year.

The trade group expects the lightest days to be Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.

The group's chief economist, John Heimlich, said the projected increase was due to a healthy economy and affordable flights. Government data shows that average fares this year are up slightly over 2018, but are lower than previous years this decade, after adjusting for inflation.