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Get Ready for a Crowded Thanksgiving: Air Travel to Hit Record Highs

Don't say you haven't been warned.

A record number of people are expected to fly during the 12-day period surrounding Thanksgiving, as they look to take advantage of carriers' low fares.

Airlines for America, an industry trade group, estimates 27.3 million people will fly worldwide on domestic airlines between Nov. 18 and Nov. 29. That equates to an average 2.27 million people every day — up 2.5 percent from last year.

Travelers wait in line before going through Transportation Security Administration screening at Ronald Reagan National airport in Washington, D.C.. Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The current peak years for Thanksgiving travel are believed to be 2006 and 2007, when 26.2 million travelers flew on U.S. airlines each of those years, according to the trade group.

"Airlines are adding capacity to accommodate the increased demand," said John Heimlich, Airlines for America's vice president and chief economist. "While more people will be flying, there will be more than an adequate number of seats available."

The most recent data from the U.S. Department of Transportation show the average domestic airfare in the second quarter was $352 — the lowest price since 2011. Coupled with a stronger economy and relatively high consumer confidence, these low fares have contributed to greater demand among travelers.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving is expected to be the busiest day for air travel that weekend, according to the forecast. If you're looking for a little more elbow room in the airport and on the plane, Thanksgiving Thursday is expected to be the lightest travel day.