Holiday Travelers Surprised by Smooth Trip

Balmy weather and an early start by many holiday travelers made the Thanksgiving getaway fairly painless this year as people across the country, for the most part, arrived on time for the big dinner, still smiling.

Of course there's still the trip home to worry about.

Even in Chicago, the hub that has been the scene of so many traveler nightmares, went smoothly despite a dusting of snow Wednesday night that made roads slick. More than 800,000 people will have churned through the city's O'Hare International Airport this weekend, including an expected 220,000 Sunday, for the trip home.

Some flights were delayed as much as two hours in New York City's three congested airports, but even there, travelers were delighted to find that delays and cancellations were the exception.

Backups were minimal early today at LaGuardia, as well as John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty International airports, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The record-setting surge of 38.7 million estimated holiday travelers was eased by mostly sunny skies from coast to coast, and the federal government's decision to open restricted military air space to commercial jetliners.

"We've been averaging about 35 flights in each direction, so 70-80 an hour using that military airspace," Thomas Paccione, of the FAA's Air Traffic Control Center, told ABC News.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.