Holiday weekend ends with busy travel day

November 25, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The weather is cooperating for people traveling right now, with few airport delays reported around the country.

Inside a packed Union Station, it was time for folks to pack up and head out.

"I have more bags then I came with!" said Amtrak traveler MacKenzie Stover.

AAA said an estimated 43 million people traveled this holiday weekend, and a lot more of those people used ground travel.

"We group travel by trains, busses and boats all together and that has risen 10 percent over last year. Air travel is down about 1.8 percent over last year, so it shows us that people are really starting to look at trains and busses as an alternative to flying," said AAA spokesperson Beth Mosher.

Anticipating the increase, Amtrak officials added 18 more trains this Thanksgiving weekend, and used the Great Hall at Union Station for more space and even created destination signage.

It's the first time they've done that, and Thanksgiving travelers noticed.

"Actually it was on time right, surprisingly on time. Amtrak has been on time as of late," said Amtrak passenger Keegan McDonald.

Things were a lot busier at Chicago's airports, where half a million passengers traveled through.

Lines at O'Hare and Midway varied throughout the day and by close to 8 p.m., travel traffic slowed down considerably.

But passengers like the Serrato family prepared for the worst and were pleasantly surprised.

"We expected it to be extremely crowded but that was not the case," said Pablo Serrato.

They traveled from Texas to Chicago, and plan to hit the roadway for the last leg of their return trip home to Waukesha, Wisconsin.

"I find it a lot easier to fly out of O'Hare. You just get used to that. Rather than flying from Milwaukee to Chicago, it's probably just easier to drive," Sarrato said.

Even with the high number of drivers, the roadways were quiet most of the day, too."

Ticket agents at American Airlines said that they do expect a little bit of a rush again early Monday morning and that should be it for the rest of the holiday travelers.

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