Local

4 Million People Expected To Use O’Hare, Midway For Holiday Travel

Travelers wait in line for a security check at O'Hare International Airport on December 20, 2013, when more than 200,000 passengers are expected to use O'Hare for the start of the Christmas and New Year's holiday travel period. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Travelers wait in line for a security check at O’Hare International Airport on December 20, 2013, when more than 200,000 passengers are expected to use O’Hare for the start of the Christmas and New Year’s holiday travel period. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Many people are packing their bags, getting set to head out of town for the holidays. Friday is the busiest travel day of the season at O’Hare and Midway airports.

Although freezing rain was falling in parts of the Chicago area, both airports were reporting normal operations early Friday.

An estimated 209,000 passengers were expected to travel through O’Hare International Airport on Friday. Another 66,000 were expected to fly through Midway International Airport. In all, an estimated 4 million travelers are expected to fly through the two Chicago airports from Friday, Dec. 20, through Monday, Jan. 6.

Among those taking to the skies Friday morning was a Navy recruit planning a surprise for his parents for Christmas.

“My mom and dad do not know I’m coming home. I kept it a secret from them. I’m going to meet them in a restaurant, and I’m going to take their drink order,” he said, after completing boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes. He said he’s ready for a really good time in Texas.

Fellow recruits Selena and Courtney were headed home to Oregon, their military backpacks strapped to their shoulders, filled with Christmas presents for their families.

They haven’t been home since Navy boot camp started four months ago.

Some might be dreaming of a white Christmas, but Armando and his wife were looking forward to a sunny Christmas on the beach in Cancún.

“We started saving since June so we could put the trip together,” Armando said. “No kids.”

For those still looking for a last-minute gift, the city is hosting a “Holiday Delights Fashion Market” at O’Hare from noon to 5 p.m. Local fashion designers and independent retailers will be selling accessories, apparel and jewelry.

Since travelers are not supposed to bring wrapped gifts through security checkpoints at the airports, the city also is offering free gift-wrapping services at the terminals at Midway and O’hare on Friday, Monday and Tuesday – from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Midway, and from noon to 5 p.m. at O’Hare.