Nearly 2M travelers to pass through O'Hare, Midway airports over Thanksgiving holiday

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More than 1.9 million passengers are expected to pass through Chicago's airports over the Thanksgiving holiday period. (WLS)

More than 1.9 million passengers are expected to pass through Chicago's airports over the Thanksgiving holiday period. The busiest day at both airports is expected to be Sunday.

The Chicago Department of Aviation says traffic is forecast to increase the most at Midway International Airport. Airlines there expect to see 3 percent more passengers than a year ago for a total of more than 530,000. O'Hare International Airport is expected to have nearly 1.4 million travelers over the week-long period. That's a 1.5 percent increase over 2013.

As of 8:30 p.m., O'Hare is experiencing delays of about 30 minutes for flights departing for and arriving from the East Coast due to weather, and 40 flights have been canceled. Midway says around three dozen flights are delayed and there have been some minor cancellations.

A Nor'easter is making its way up the East Coast. A few hundred flights were canceled in the New York metro area and snow fell in Washington by midday on Wednesday. Travelers heading east out of Chicago airports braced for delays and cancellations.

Louie Martinez made it out of Baltimore just in time.

"The snow really started to come down just as we were leaving, the plane had to be de-iced," he said.

But as of noon on Wednesday, flights were moving in and out of the Windy City without a problem. Melinda Charles, of Waukegan, was on her way to warmer temperatures.

"I'm going to see family. I'm going to stop in Dallas for three hours and then we're going to head on to Vegas. Vegas baby. Yes. Hopefully we win," Charles said.

It turns out there is good news for people planning to bring back Thanksgiving leftovers.

"You can bring pies and cakes, but no gravies or liquids, you can't bring those in you carry-on," said Midway spokesperson Kevin McCarthy.

At Union Station, there were reunions on the railways. It's how the Shore family decided to travel to experience an American tradition.

"Were thrilled, this will be their first Thanksgiving," Sarah Shore said.

"Ridership ticks up about 25 to 30 percent," said Amtrak spokesperson Derrick James. We're running ahead from last year."

Experts said to make sure travel apps, airline apps and phone numbers on passengers' smartphones are updated, to get the latest on delays and cancellations as soon as possible.

Those getting to the airports by road on Wednesday may want to give themselves extra time to get there. It's expected to be the busiest day on the Illinois Tollway system, with 1.7 million vehicles.

AAA predicts 46 million Americans will drive over the Thanksgiving holiday - the highest volume since 2007. Gas prices are the lowest they have been since December 2010.

"Consumers really are taking the disposable income that they're working with and they're spending it on travel," AAA Spokesperson Beth Mosher said.

Related Topics:
travelholidaythanksgivingohare airportmidway airporttraffictravel tipsair travelAAAChicago - O'HareIllinois
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