United Airlines flights were packed in June as the carrier continued to benefit from streamlining its routes and a nationwide uptick in air travel.
The Chicago- based airline said Wednesday its planes were 88.3 percent full in June, a slight increase over 88.1 percent in the year-ago period and United's highest level ever for the month.
Passenger traffic rose by 2.3 percent compared with June 2005. Capacity, or the number of seats available, grew 2.2 percent as United added flights in North America and Latin America and scaled back on unprofitable, less-popular routes.
Most U.S. airlines this year are seeing record load factors - the percentage of seats filled. It's a result of increased consumer demand coupled with a decrease in the number of seats available.
Southwest Airlines on Wednesday said its June load factor rose 4 percent over the same period last year, while Continental Airlines on Monday reported a record 84.8 percent June load factor.
"We're going to see historical numbers this summer," said Tom Parsons, who runs Texas-based travel site Bestfares.com. "If you haven't bought tickets for the month of July, you're probably going to experience ticket shock. There's simply not that many seats left."
United, which is the largest airline in Denver, emerged in February from a three-year bankruptcy.
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