Mostly smooth sailing for Thanksgiving travelers between morning, evening rush

KYW Staff
November 27, 2019 - 10:04 am
Airport passengers wait to go through a TSA security checkpoint early Wednesday morning at Philadelphia International Airport.

Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio

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UPDATED: 5:45 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It’s getaway day for millions of Americans, the day before Thanksgiving.

Despite reports of bad weather in parts of the country, things seemed to be moving along at Philadelphia International Airport on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Airport officials say 92,000 people are flying in and out of PHL, about 5,000 more than a typical day.

The first wave of travelers getting early flights on Wednesday had really long lines to deal with. 

"Yeah, it's crazy," said Zabreena from Brooklawn, N.J. "I've never seen it this long before."

At the Terminal D and E checkpoint, for example, the line stretched from TSA all the way to the parking garage.

"Yeah, I didn't think it would be this bad, but it's moving," said Karen from Emmaus, Pa.

Meanwhile, at 30th Street Station, there wasn’t much of a rush early in the day. Everything was rolling along smoothly with no significant lines and only a few minor delays on the big board.

Nearly 100,000 people will pass through the station by the end of the day. Amtrak spokeswoman Beth Toll says they expect to see the majority of their foot traffic later in the day.

"Typically we see our afternoon and evening trains are the ones that are the most packed," she said. "We always tell people you want to take a look at these earlier trains. There’s always a bit more availability."

Simone and her mother came in from Washington, D.C., to celebrate a Thanksgiving tradition unique to their family.

"We're originally from the Caribbean, so we don't normally celebrate Thanksgiving," she said. "So, because my mother's birthday is around the same time, we decided to make it a family thing and go to a different place in the United States and go for Thanksgiving. This year, we picked Philadelphia.”

She says they plan to hit touristy spots like the Liberty Bell and Reading Terminal Market.

At PHL, many patient travelers were wearing green.

"Yes, we're sticking by our Eagles," said Carla, who is spending Thanksgiving in Florida with her family of four.

The Birds play the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday, and Carla's husband is very happy.

"Worked out great," he said. "Great weather. Hopefully a great game!"

Others decided to stay home for the holidays, but many ventured out for a last-minute shopping trip.

Reading Terminal Market was packed Wednesday afternoon with shoppers, buying necessities like herbs, gravy and cranberries, to a few non-essentials like bananas.

Plus, of course, dessert.

KYW Newsradio’s Hadas Kuznits took a peek in some shoppers’ carts ahead of Thanksgiving:

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KYW Newsradio's Tim Jimenez, Mike Dougherty and Hadas Kuznits contibuted to this report.