ATLANTA – Travelers heading home after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend swarmed airports Sunday, but for the most part without the long lines and delays many had feared.
In Atlanta, home to one of the nation`s busiest airports, rainy weather delayed some incoming flights more than two hours, though lines were moving, said Herschel Grangent, spokesman for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
“In terms of security checkpoints things are moving smoothly, but the issue now is due to low visibility,” Grangent said.
Airport officials estimated about 1.8 million people would pass through Hartsfield during the long holiday weekend, including about 324,000 people on Sunday and 305,000 expected today. That is about a 4.6 percent increase in holiday weekend traffic from last year, Grangent said.
AAA said its surveys indicated a record 38.7 million U.S. residents were likely to travel 50 miles or more for the holiday period of Wednesday through Sunday, up about 1.5 percent from last year. About 4.7 million were expected to fly, and about 31.2 million travelers were likely to drive in spite of rising gasoline prices, AAA said last week.
In the congested New York area, the Federal Aviation Administration said delays into and out of John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty airports were 15 minutes, while passengers had delays of about 40 minutes at LaGuardia.
Earlier in the day, traffic moved smoothly in Atlanta.
“So far, at least, it`s been reasonable,” Alli Charney of Atlanta said as she waited for a flight. “I just left very early, got a good night`s rest and drank lots of coffee.”
There were no delays by late morning at Los Angeles International Airport, spokeswoman Katherine Alvarado said. The airport had not taken any measures to reduce delays in anticipation of heavy air traffic, she said.
Ashley Delseni arrived at Florida`s Pensacola Regional Airport several hours early for a flight to Atlanta and a connection to San Diego, but she found no lines or delays by midmorning.
“Everything is going very smoothly,” Delseni said. Her husband is a Marine stationed in Iraq, and she spent Thanksgiving with her family in Pensacola.
Virginia O. Van Antwerp and her daughter, Gypsie, returned home to Pensacola on Sunday following an overnight flight from Argentina, where they spent a the holiday, and a connecting flight from Atlanta.
“Everything was on time and there were no problems at all,” Gypsie B. Van Antwerp said.