Heavy traffic at South Florida airports ahead of Thanksgiving

FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Thousands of passengers flocked to airports across South Florida, Tuesday, as airlines geared up for what is widely regarded as the busiest travel time of the year.

7News cameras captured long but still manageable lines at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Miami International airports, two days before Thanksgiving.

“We’re going to Disney World so she can see Mickey for the first time,” said one woman who was traveling with her toddler-aged daughter.

Another woman was taking her young daughter to meet her great-gandmother. “She’s 13 months old, and her great-grandmother is 91,” she said. “She’s lived in West Palm for over 40 years. It’s going to be a fun Thanksgiving.”

Airline officials said Tuesday’s travel volume will pale in comparison to the numbers they are expecting on Wednesday and early Thursday.

About 50 million people are expected to travel by air and ground in the United States this week. About four million of those travelers will be flying to their holiday destinations.

At FLL alone, officials expect to see about 670,000 travelers from Tuesday to Monday.

FLL traveler Rose Yambot said she’s glad she didn’t wait until tomorrow to fly out. “Maybe it’s too early for me to say that. There’s lots of travelers,” she said. “Maybe later on, maybe at 4 o’clock or 5 o’clock, then there will be a lot of air travel, passengers that are coming over.”

Yambot acknowledged Wednesday travelers will have to confront massive crowds at airports across the nation. “That’s why we wanted to go home to California on this day because we know that tomorrow it will be packed,” she said.

“I’m glad it’s today and not tomorrow,” echoed traveler Beverly Steward.

“[Wednesday] I’ll be home,” said another relieved traveler.

Officials advised travelers to arrive at their airports early and be patient with the long lines at security checkpoints this week. “My best piece of advice is to plan ahead before you come to the airport,” said FLL spokesperson Greg Meyer.

FLL even has a phone app to help track flights and plan for parking.

According to AAA, airline ticket prices went down 23 percent compared to 2016.

Copyright 2017 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.