Thought the airport was busier last year? You were right


Did the airport feel more crowded last year?

Well it was, according to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport's 2014 year-end report, released Tuesday.

MSP had nearly 34 million passengers in 2014 – a 4 percent increase from 2013 – making it No. 16 in North America in terms of the number of passengers served annually, the airport says.

More people were flying, but there were fewer flights. The number of flights arriving and departing the airport actually declined 4.3 percent, to just under 413,000, the report shows.

"Basically the airlines are using larger aircraft, and their new booking policies try to make the aircraft more full than in other years," Amanda Greene Guentzel, MSP's public affairs and marketing coordinator, told the Pioneer Press.

So your chance of getting that row all to yourself was all but a dream last year – and it looks like passengers will have to keep dreaming.

USA Today's air travel outlook for 2015 found airplanes will become even more crowded, and many U.S. airlines will continue to add more seats, allowing them transport more passengers on fewer flights.

As for the future at MSP, the trend of more passengers but fewer flights means less revenue in landing fees, but airport officials are optimistic because of increased passenger numbers, and the revenue they bring through parking, food and other services, the Pioneer Press reports.

As for how much tickets will cost this year, Carlson Wagonlit's travel forecast says air fare prices are expected to gradually rise due to more demand, favorable cost structures and slowly expanding capacity.

Airfare is expected to rise 2.5 percent in North America this year, due to airline consolidation that will "essentially leave three major carriers in the U.S.," the forecast notes.

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