Summer has finally arrived. That means even more stacked planes and close airports. If one thinks that airline trips are much crowded than how they were before, then they are absolutely right. The passenger load factor otherwise known as (PLF) of commercial airways has risen tremendously over the past decade. In 2005, airlines had a mean load factor of 75.2%. Therefore on average, only three seats for every four seats were traded.
The recession of 2007-2010 halted the load factor growth. However, by 2018, the average load factor reached 81.7% globally. In the United States, the load factor has risen on domestic flights. It has inflated from 67.88% in 2002 to 86.08% by 2018. During that time, the number of domestic trips has had an almost stationary status. This is from 8,085,083 in 2002 to 8,176,610 in 2017. The US airline sector has gotten even better in documenting seats as revenue passenger miles rose. It has seen a significant increase from 471,652,206 in 2002 to 684,221,393 in 2017.
The era of having an entire row to space up in coach is a thing of the past. It is also inclusive of having an empty middle seat disjointing one from his or her neighbor. The airlines rarely mourn over it. On the contrary, these airlines of global repute are busy shrinking seats and cramming additional seats. As one might anticipate, the reduced cost carriers typically have the highest load factor. However, the load factor can at times fluctuate. An example is the Frontier Airlines. Its load factor grew from 73.5% in 2004 to an incredible 91.28% in 2013. From that moment, however, the load factor no matter how robust, has dropped significantly. It was noted in 2017 when it turned back to 86.36%. It may due to heightening competition from major airlines. They offer the dread “basic economy” fare. It starts with Delta’s “experiment” in 2014.
According to Forbes, as of July 2017, Ireland’s Ryanair was the most packed airline. Its load factor was 93.1% in 2016. Furthermore, the airline propelled the figure further to 94.7% in 2017. The airline is somehow involved in a “cattle car” reputation. Regardless, Ryanair successfully stacked in 130 million Millennials in the 2017-2018 fiscal years. However, other carriers challenged it for its passenger packing size. Four other different carriers boasted of 90% or even enhanced load factor in 2017. It was headed by India’s very own Spicejet. It flew an average of 92.8% full.