SEATTLE — Travelers heading home after the long Thanksgiving weekend had yet another reason to be thankful on Sunday: favorable weather and few airport delays reported on what is traditionally the busiest travel day of the year.
Although there was little elbow room on packed buses, trains and airplanes, travel appeared to be running smoothly as millions of people trekked home after feasting with family and friends.
Experts had predicted a slight rise in the number of people traveling this Thanksgiving weekend compared to last year. Some 43.6 million Americans were expected to journey 50 miles or more between Wednesday and Sunday, and more of them were likely to be driving while fewer were flying, according to AAA’s yearly analysis.
Mauro Scappa and his wife, Chris, and their two children were among those who chose not to take to the skies. They braced themselves for delays as they waited at New York’s Penn Station for a train back to Washington, near their home in Falls Church, Va. But their train was expected on time Sunday morning.
“We definitely wanted to avoid the airport on Thanksgiving weekend, for sure,” Scappa said.
Renee Kerns, her husband Mike and their two children left about 30 minutes earlier than usual to catch a flight to home to California. They anticipated longer lines at the Washington-area Dulles International Airport, but sailed through security in about 10 minutes and were at their gate for their 8:30 a.m. flight to Oakland, Calif., more than an hour before their flight.
“It was fine,” Renee Kerns said of getting through security. Added her husband: “Easy, but we’re early.”
Helped by dry weather and mostly clear skies, both O’Hare and Midway international airports in Chicago reported normal operations Sunday with no delays.
Leonard Reddick, 29, waited near downtown Chicago for a bus back to Flint, Mich. He traveled on Thanksgiving day to see his sister in the Chicago area, explaining that it’s his trick for avoiding the huge crowds on the day before the holiday. He also liked the $84 roundtrip fare.