CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — Thanksgiving travel is in full swing and crowds are growing at O’Hare Airport.
Fifty-one million people are planning to travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving. CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli is at O’Hare, where travelers are being told to get there early.
It is already busy at O’Hare Airport early Wednesday morning. And that really should not come as a surprise because according to Trip Advisor, Chicago is the third most popular travel destination this Thanksgiving.
According to the Department of Aviation, close to two million people will be traveling through the city’s airports Thanksgiving week. One-point-three million of those people will be traveling through O’Hare which is still among the busiest airports in the world.
Sunday is expected to be the worst day to travel, as a third of a million people are expected to fly in or out of O’Hare and Midway airports on that day alone.
Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans says the airports are prepared to provide a “safe and efficient experience” for travelers.
The department is encouraging passengers to arrive at the airport at least two hours before their departure time for domestic flights, and three hours early for international travel.
Evans said the passenger volume at both airports is expected to be up slightly compared with last year. Nationally the amount of Thanksgiving travelers taking to the air is expected to surge by five percent.
“We’re seeing the highest volume of travelers this year, than we have in nearly a dozen years and that is all because the economy has really turned around. People feel more secure in their job situations and they have more disposable income that they are working with. They are out spending it on travel, but also, airline ticket prices are down 23 percent year over year, so that is why our airports are so busy this year as well,” said AAA Chicago spokeswoman Beth Mosher.
And with new security Technology unveiled at Midway last week as well as at O’Hare earlier, travelers at the city’s airports can expect some of the shortest wait times in the country.
Passengers say dealing with crowds is a small price to pay this Thanksgiving.
If you need a taxi, passengers can receive text messages indicated wait times at both airports.
Both airports are offering free entertainment on Wednesday. Travelers can enjoy live music at O’Hare and a Thanksgiving parade and free hot cocoa at Midway.
(CBS Chicago and The Associated Press contributed to this copy. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)