Thanksgiving Travel Getaway; Millions Head to the Roads, Airports

Millions of travelers have hit the road, heading home for the long Thanksgiving weekend. And so far, except for a few minor bumps, travel appears to be flowing smoothly on the busiest travel weekend of the year.

The East Coast was the biggest trouble spot throughout the morning and early afternoon, with low clouds and a forecast of light rain causing delays at the northeast's major airports.

But by mid-afternoon thunderstorms moved into southern Florida and caused departure delays. At 3:30, The FAA had prohibited any flight on the ground heading to Miami, Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach from taking off from their departure airport. This so-called ground halt was expected to last until 5 p.m.

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In the northeast, the biggest delay's were at Philadelphia International Airport where departing planes were 2 hours and 21 minutes late. Up in Boston, arriving flights were delayed an average of 48 minutes. In the New York area, LaGuardia was experiencing arrival delays of 37 minutes and over at Newark arrivals were delayed, on average, 1 hour and six minutes.

To see up-to-the-minute information about the status of your airport, visit to Web site for the TEXTFAA's Air Traffic Control System Command Center's map of the nation and delays at key airports.

It might also be slow going for people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina as a storm moves through that part of the country. And the Midwest can also expect some rain today. Both systems could add to delays at airports and make it slower for drivers on area highways.

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Expect long lines at airports; they were already busy early this morning at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport where more than 2 million passengers are expected to pass today. And with fewer flights this year, those cabins and overhead bins are going to be packed. Try to travel light and have lots of patience.

Melissa Coopersmith, a Nebraska college student heading home to California is cutting class to cut costs. And she's not alone.

"I'm flying back on Monday and missing my class because it was going to be $200 cheaper," she said.

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Don't expect much elbow room on the train either.

Amtrak expects 70,000 additional riders on the rails today -- its busiest day of the year.

But, as with most holidays, the vast majority of people -- about 75 percent -- plan to drive. Turn your headlights on, buckle up and be patient.

Holiday Travel Tips

So as you head home today, here are some quick tips before you get behind the wheel, head to the airport or board that train or bus.

AAA projects 38.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home over the Thanksgiving weekend; a 1.4 percent increase over last year.

Everybody but the airlines, according to AAA, will see an increase in travelers. There will be an estimated 2.1 percent more people on the roads, and 1.2 percent more people taking trains, buses and ferries. The airlines, which have been cutting flights in response to the recession and an overall decline in travel, will see 6.7 percent fewer travelers, according to AAA. (The airline industry's trade group predicts a 4 percent decline.)

That said, fliers – about 2.3 million people, compared to the 33.2 million in cars – are the most likely to encounter delays and frustrations. (Last week's FAA computer glitch was a good reminder of how easily things can go wrong.)

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