Busiest travel days 2023: Holiday travel rush begins at O'Hare, Midway ahead of Christmas

Wednesday, December 20, 2023
Holiday travel rush begins at O'Hare, Midway ahead of Christmas
The 2023 holiday travel rush has begun at O'Hare and Midway. AAA said the busiest travel days for Christmas 2023 could start today.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The holiday travel rush has begun, as O'Hare and Midway airports are starting to fill up with people heading out of town.

AAA said this could be the busiest holiday travel season ever.

Wednesday was the busiest travel day at O'Hare, with millions of passengers passing through the airport for the start of the holiday weekend.

It's a holly jolly time of year, with over 3 million passengers traveling through Chicago's airports. Even Santa made his way to O'Hare to get people in the holiday spirit.

Brothers Jacon and Max Zeman were on their way to Orlando, Fla., with their family to see their sister for Christmas.

"Well, I don't like planes but it's fun," said 11-year-old Jacob Zeman.

"It's kind of good, I mean the only thing I'm nervous about when we land and when we take off from the airplane," max Zeman said.

For the Martinez family, this season is extra special.

After a difficult year, mom and daughter decided to take a trip to New York to celebrate.

"I just told her that, like, let's go somewhere, and she, obviously, she agreed because she's been working a lot, and so we both wanted a break," Abigail Martinez said. "Mostly just to see the city and see the lights."

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They also plan to see the world-famous Rockettes.

"Very excited, first time going," Nancy Martinez said. "We want to do something special."

They will have to deal with a very busy travel day.

According to officials with the Department of Aviation, O'Hare is projected to see a passenger increase of over 4.5% compared to last year.

"Pack your patience, plan, plan, plan, give yourself enough time to commute to and from the airports, use public transportation if possible," Director of Public Information Georgiaree Godfrey said. "Give yourself enough time for anything that may occur on the road. So, we like to say arrive here two hours before your flight."

Tiffany Davis did just that, arriving with plenty of time to enjoy her trip to Florida to see her family.

But for Arkeem Williams, the day was about getting back to Chicago so he could make it home for the holidays.

"Christmas is going to be amazing. I'm going to have the boys, I'm going to have my kids, so its going to be amazing," he said.