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Holiday travel off to smooth start at BWI as passengers prepare to fly to destinations

by Staff

BALTIMORE – AAA says around 2.3 million Marylanders will hit the roads and the skies over the next 10 days.

This time last year, airports were chaotic. The holiday meltdown led to more than 16,000 flight cancellations and left 2 million passengers stranded.

As many get set to fly to their holiday destinations before Christmas, Caroline Foreback was at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport on Thursday to gauge how traveling is going so far.

With just days until Christmas Eve, great weather and minimal delays have provided passengers with a smooth start.

People who were expecting long lines on Thursday told WJZ they were pleasantly surprised. However, that could change the closer was get to Christmas.

Some travelers said they are headed home.

Patricia and Calvin Lewis, from Sykesville, are on their way to warmer weather.

“Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. We’re going to be getting on a cruise ship,” Calvin Lewis  said.

“All over the Caribbean, mainly,” added Patricia Lewis. “The different islands in the Caribbean.”

They say they’ve already visited all 50 states and all seven continents…

And as seasoned travelers, they have their airport routine down, starting with getting there early.

“To get a parking spot and get through the lines and whatever,” Patricia Lewis said.

While most holiday travelers expected long lines at security checkpoints before Christmas, on Thursday, they were pleasantly surprised when they arrived at BWI.

“I said to her, when we were pulling up, I said it doesn’t look that busy at all,” Calvin Lewis said.

Around 1 pm, the longest wait time at the security checkpoints was three minutes.

“I am really surprised because I fly a lot, and during the holidays, it’s always busy,” said Janice Barry. “This has been a wonderful experience. I parked, I left my car at the parking lot, the lines are moving good. Southwest is ready for the people today.”

But that could easily change as AAA expects an 8 percent increase in holiday air travel from last year

“AAA is projecting that nationally, more than 7.5 million Americans will be flying to their holiday destinations, with slightly under 132,000 Marylanders expected to travel by air as well,” said AAA spokesperson Ragina Ali.

For travelers, it means they could see more crowds on their trip back to Maryland after New Year’s.

“That’s not a problem,” Calvin Lewis said. “We can be late getting back. We just don’t want to be late getting down.”

AAA says Saturday, December 30 will likely be a busy travel day with a  lot of people returning from their Christmas plans and leaving for New Year’s plans.

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