1.7M travelers expected to pass through O'Hare, Midway this week
CHICAGO - With 54.6 million Americans expected to travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving, AAA is predicting that it will be the third-busiest Thanksgiving since 2000.
On Wednesday, Nov. 23, Midway International Airport is expected to see its highest volume of travelers for the holiday, but on Monday, some were beating the rush – checking out of the office and ‘checking in’ to the holidays.
This year, O’Hare International Airport and Midway are anticipating 1.7 million travelers between Tuesday, Nov. 22 and Monday, Nov. 28.
Midway is projected to see a 24.1 percent increase in passengers this Thanksgiving compared to last.
"It was great, it wasn’t that bad at all, we got out there early, we went last Thursday," said traveler Jerry Klover.
Klover and his daughter, Laurie Murphy, just returned home from an early Thanksgiving celebration in Arizona.
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"We went to Phoenix to visit my brother, I took my dad out there for his first trip, did an early Thanksgiving visit to beat the travel," said Murphy.
Meanwhile, Chicago native LaTasha Jones who now lives in Memphis was here for the weekend, and says she’s already noticed the uptick.
"My first flight coming to Midway was completely booked, and it was like 9 a.m., which is kind of unusual, but I guess holiday travel is of course picking back up," said Jones.
Packed and prepared, Tim Evoy just got to town from Tampa.
"I heard on the TV there was going to be 800,000 people going through Tampa Airport and I wanted to avoid that at all costs," said Evoy.
Evoy is originally from Palos Heights and will soon be heading to Iowa to visit his daughter.
"I hated to leave the warm weather, you know it’s going to be 80 degrees in Tampa on Thanksgiving, lord only knows what it will be here," said Evoy.
And while he'd gladly trade the temperatures… home is where the heart is.
"What’s the holidays without family," said Evoy.
Travelers are also spending more money this holiday. According to the travel booking app, Hopper, flights are up about 8 percent from last year.
If you have upcoming travel plans but haven't booked your tickets yet, Hopper says the best time to buy is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.