A record 965 million passengers packed US planes last year

A record 965 million airline passengers flew in the United States last year, a 3.4 percent increase over 2016.

Figures from the Transportation Department show that air travel has been rising since the Great Recession that ended in 2009.

The department said Thursday that air travel within the U.S. rose 3 percent and international traffic to and from the U.S. grew 4.8 percent.

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport had the most passengers, followed by Los Angeles International and Chicago's O'Hare. New York's Kennedy Airport had the most international passengers.

Southwest Airlines again carried the most passengers, while Delta Air Lines barely leapfrogged American Airlines for second place. But American had slightly more international passengers than Delta or United Airlines.

On the average flight, 82.5 percent of seats were filled.

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