Travel woes begin at South Florida airports ahead of Thanksgiving

MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Travelers flying out of South Florida on Tuesday are already facing delays ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Officials with Miami International Airport said an estimated 1.5 million passengers are expected to come in and out of the airport.

Darryl Howard is trying to head home to New Jersey for the holidays.

“Booked early so I can get out before the rush and everything,” he said. “Hopefully it’s smooth.”

The long lines at MIA haven’t impacted the attitudes of some travelers.

“Traveling has been fast. I got here fast so it’s quite good,” said one traveler.

“It’s supposed to be crazier but it’s fine,” said another traveler. “It’s quiet and easygoing here.”

An estimated 800,000 passengers are expected to come in and out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, where the lines at TSA are manageable.

“It’s a great airport. It’s pretty easy to navigate,” said Andre Taylor, who’s travelling to Atlanta. “Trust me, when I come back from Hartsfield Jackson, it won’t be the same. FLL does a good job at helping us get through the security lanes pretty quickly.”

“When you get to the airport, there’s traffic, but you just gotta go early in the morning,” said Alejandro Quesada, who came in from college in Georgia to spend time with his family.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers also want to remind holiday travelers who are heading overseas to take note of what can and cannot be brought back into the U.S.

Bags will be checked for prohibited items including fruits and vegetables that could carry harmful pests or diseases.

The biggest worry travelers are currently facing is the harsh weather in the majority of the country.

Two thirds of the country is forecasted to be under wintry weather conditions.

AAA expects Wednesday to be the busiest travel day of the week.

“This holiday weekend, AAA expects more than 55 million people to be traveling, and that’s the most on record since 2005,” said AAA spokeswoman Jeanette Casselano. “We expect the heaviest travel volume in the afternoon because at that time we’re going to see a lot of holiday commuters mixing with some evening commuters on the road at the same time.”

Delays and cancelled flights are expected to take place over the week.

In Colorado, snow slammed Denver forcing 1,500 flights to be cancelled.

“I’m heading to Cartagena, Colombia. I was gonna go to Colorado, but I heard it’s kinda snowy over there,” traveler Lisa Burns said. “I am definitely avoiding the snow. I wanna tell everyone, ‘Happy Thanksgiving!'”

Cheryl Hinkley was trying to get to the Rockies. She’s headed out from Miami.

“Worried about landing? No. Haha,” she said. “More excited to see my daughter.”

Airport officials warned the public that the rough weather out west could cause a chain reaction of delays across the country.

“With so many people traveling, plan ahead,” said American Airlines spokesperson Rebecca Spicer. “Get to the airport in enough time.”

Passengers are being asked to be patient and arrive ahead of their flights.

“If you’re taking a domestic flight, come two hours before,” said Jack Varela of Miami International Airport. “If you’re taking an international flight, come three hours before.”

An employee protest against low wages also took place at Miami International Airport from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Travel experts are expecting a record breaking travel day on Sunday, Dec. 1. They expect an estimated 3.1 million passengers traveling on U.S. airlines.

Fortunately for those traveling by car, AAA said gas prices are lower than last year.

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