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O’Hare Set For Busiest Day Of Holiday Season

O'Hare International Airport

Passengers in the security line at O’Hare International Airport on Dec. 22, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 12/22/11 8:46 a.m.

]CHICAGO (CBS) — Holiday travel is in full swing Thursday, as O’Hare International Airport expects to see its busiest day of the season.

The Chicago Department of Aviation says almost 3 million people are expected to pass through O’Hare and Midway international airports between Thursday and New Year’s Day.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

The busiest day at O’Hare is expected to be Thursday, while the busiest at Midway is expected to be Friday.

On Thursday alone, 202,600 passengers are expected to pass through at O’Hare. Midway expects 65,700 passengers on Friday.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, most of the flight information boards at O’Hare read “on time” Thursday morning.

Helene Fagan, her husband and their daughter’s family were among the travelers at O’Hare early Thursday. It was quite an exciting experience, particularly for Fagan’s young grandchildren.

“They came and picked us up, and they thought they were going to Michigan,” she said, “and we said, ‘No, you’re going to Disney World!’”

Fagan, her daughter and son-in-law had been planning the trip for six months. They say they almost let the secret slip a number of times, but were able to pull it off.

As the airports are flooded with travelers, the Department of Aviation is seeking to make the experience as easy and pleasant as possible.

Wrapped gifts may be opened and inspected at security checkpoints, so both O’Hare and Midway have set up complimentary gift-wrapping stations beyond the checkpoints.

The Midway gift-wrapping station will operate between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. through Friday near Harry Caray’s Restaurant, while O’Hare has set up stations in between gates B8 and B9 in Terminals 1; across from Johnny Rockets in Terminal 2; and across from Garrett’s Popcorn in Terminal 3 from noon to 5 p.m., also through Friday.

Live entertainment will also be presented at both airports through Friday, near the lower level baggage claim at Midway and at several locations at O’Hare.

No flight delays were reported at either Chicago airport Thursday morning, but CBS 2’s Derrick Young says travelers can expect to find possible delays in Atlanta, Houston and New Orleans, where there are thunderstorms; and Denver and Albuquerque, where snow is expected.