Thanksgiving travel: Make your air reservations now

Even though summer isn't over yet, for those of you who travel over Thanksgiving, it is already time to start thinking about booking your flights.

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest flying times of the year and this year there are going to be a lot fewer flights available. In an effort to save on costs and in hopes of being able to raise prices, airlines are cutting back on the number of flights they offer. American airlines is shrinking its flight capacity in its main US markets by up to 12% in the Fall and United by up to 16.5%. (Southwest just announced it would cut 200 flights, or about 6%, but not till January, 2009).

Travelers in certain markets will find the cuts much more severe than those percentages imply. If you are used to taking a direct flight, from, let's say, Albany to Chicago on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, you will have half the amount of flights to choose from -- four this year, down from eight last year, according to a report from USA Today. From Boston to Chicago there are three fewer flights, from San Diego there are two fewer flights, and from Pittsburgh there are six fewer direct flights on that route that day.