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Airports ready for influx of travelers

November 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Despite the weak economy, the Thanksgiving travel crunch has begun as Southern Californians take to the skies, highways and rails, counting down to family feasts and long weekend getaways. By train, plane and automobile, Southern Californians have begun the thanksgiving holiday travel exodus. Because of the economy, fewer Americans will travel this Thanksgiving holiday, and those who do travel will have to pay more for it. Airfares have increased 8 percent from last year but still at LAX, they are expecting 1.5 million to use this airport over this holiday travel period.

Airport workers are gearing up for the estimated 1.5 million people expected to pass through LAX for the 10-day travel period that begins Wednesday. Travelers Tuesday got a jump on the crowds by booking before the expected crush.

Triple-A auto club predicts a drop in Thanksgiving travel nationwide by car and plane for the first time since 2002.

The Air Transport Association expects 10 percent fewer passengers to fly to their Turkey Day destinations this year. However, planes will be packed because airlines have reached capacity. And there's more to think about if you're a traveler this year.

"We got rules, we got fees, everything's changed. Fifteen dollars apiece, so we packed differently, we're taking a lot more carry-ons," said one DC-bound traveler from Brea.

Alana Richman is ready to get cooking with grandma "We all bake in the kitchen and stuff, and play with our puppies," said Alana.

"We are beating the crowds. Three o'clock, two hours before our 5 o'clock flight. We're going to Boulder, Colorado. We're smart," said traveler Michelle Richman.

Jennifer Gaines of Travelocity says the sluggish economy is having an effect on holiday travel plans.

"Yes, people are still traveling, but they're choosing to travel either for Thanksgiving or for Christmas, but not necessarily for both," said Jennifer Gaines, Travelocity.

And most of them, Gaines says, are choosing Christmas. Now President Bush is hoping to ease the crunch as well. The Pentagon is going to allow unused military airspace for commercial airlines for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, so this will be good news for commercial flights, they can have that extra space just in case they need it, and it will really help in case the weather is bad.

For now the next few days the weather looks good like it's not going to be bad for travelers.


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