SEATTLE - Domestic and international airline travel in the U.S. fell 3.5 percent in 2008 compared with 2007, according to the Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on U.S. airlines and on flights to and from the United States on foreign airlines fell to 809 million people last year.

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Passenger travel in December 2008 fell 5.7 percent compared to the same month in 2007, a sign that many people chose to stay closer to home for the holidays during the tough economy.

Total passengers on U.S. airlines and on foreign airlines to and from the United States declined in each of the last nine months of 2008 from the same month in 2007. The largest decline of 12.8 percent took place in November.

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines ranked seventh among air carriers for international travel with 1.9 million passengers in 2008.

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