Holiday travelers greeted with long lines, few delays

Monday, December 1, 2014
Holiday travelers greeted with long lines, few delays
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The long holiday weekend wrapped up as people headed home from Thanksgiving celebrations on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The long holiday weekend wrapped up Sunday night as travelers headed home from Thanksgiving celebrations on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

More than two and a half million people nationwide were expected to fly on Sunday.

Quiet arrived at the end of the busy travel day and apart from some unexpectedly long lines for a time at Midway International Airport Sunday morning, the day went pretty well.

Sunday evening was bittersweet for many, harried for some. While Thanksgiving was at an end, it was a relief for traveler J.P. Marchetti to make it home on time after a long flight with two little guys in tow.

"They're not built for air travel, but they actually did quite well," he said.

Nothing is more problematic for air travel than foul weather, and Sunday brought no red flags. At O'Hare International Airport Sunday afternoon and evening, the bigger challenge was driving in and out as opposed to flying.

"Not only that, but just this loop over here, it was way too busy," Carlos Munoz said.

There is always some kind of line at O'Hare, like the cab line for a lot of passengers just back from the warm southwest. But that line is nothing compared to the line at Midway Sunday morning, when it stretched from the security check-point all the way back to the Orange Line station, with waits longer than the benchmark 20 minutes.

"We'll be prepared to handle the high passenger loads this season," said TSA's Mike McCarthy. "We want the passengers to be prepared before they show up at the checkpoints."

Just over a week ago, the TSA gave a behind-the-scenes look at in-line baggage screening at Midway, a system that's improved speed and efficiency over years past. The Department of Aviation says the lines Sunday morning were simply the result of a heavy morning travel load that was freed up before 10 a.m.

Aviation commissioner departs for private sector

Unrelated to the post-Thanksgiving travel, the commissioner who has overseen the Chicago's Department of Aviation over the last five years, Rosie Andolino, is departing. She starts a new job in the private sector Monday.

Some of O'Hare's neighbors not happy with new runways and the noise they bring are not particularly fond of Andolino, but during her time there, she ran both the O'Hare modernization project and also the day-to-day operations of the busy airport. Her successor has not yet been named.