Turkey Travel: Planes, trains, automobiles

November 26, 2008 PLANES

Thanksgiving is a time for being with loved ones.

The Wednesday before is traditionally the biggest aviation travel day of the year, but this year numbers are down.

In 2007, 110,000 fliers jammed into the airport; today, the forecast was for more elbow room and 8,000 fewer passengers.

Nationally, the airline industry predicted a 10-percent drop.

Veteran travelers say that translated into smooth sailing.

"Crowds were non-existent when we left this morning, security line was two minutes long, walked straight up, dropped my bags, in and out," Neil Dougherty of Denver said.

Some of this was preordained when last summer during the energy spike airlines grounded some planes reducing the number of seats available while raising fares.

Then came the fall's economic downturn and those higher fare were a tough sell.


At 30th Street Station, long lines all day.

Amtrak says it is running at full capacity with an 11-perrcent jump in ridership over last year's Thanksgiving.

According to local travelers, the train is the best way to go to see their families.

Courtney Horton from Cheltenham, Pennsylvania said with the economy the way it is, taking the train is a cheaper alternative.

Ari Selman of Rittenhouse Square prefers the train because it gets him out of the traffic.

"It's cheaper, it's easier to get to then the airport, so it works out good," Sabrina Moore of Pine Hill, New Jersey said on her way to Virginia.

Packed buses pulled out of the Greyhound station with long lines of holiday traveler patiently waiting there, as well.

The bulk of the train traffic is scheduled to end at 9:00 p.m. Wednesday night.


41 million Americans are hitting the road this long holiday weekend, down slightly from last year, but not down significantly because gas prices have dropped about a dollar a gallon compared to last Thanksgiving.

It's been smooth sailing for Mike Steidele and his family after leaving Chicago around ten last night.

Some got an early start.

Most were heading out Wednesday evening.

Some are visiting relatives and friends.

Others are out to see the sights and take in the parade.

"We're heading to down to the parade in Philadelphia and my son is singing on the steps of the Art Museum," Debbie Tillett of Northumberland, Pennsylvania said.

They're all hoping for a safe trip and the Pennsylvania State Police are out to make it as safe as possible.

"Thanksgiving is the number one holiday for DUI related crashes, also DUI related arrests in this area," Trooper Danea Alston of the Pa. State Police said.

So, the state police will be setting up DUI checkpoints near all the major highways.

This year, it's personal.

Last March, one of their own, Trooper Kenton Iwaniec was killed by an alleged drunk driver.

And last week, Philadelphia police Sgt. Timothy Simpson was killed by an alleged drunk driver.

Two families devastated by an easily preventable crime.

So, just remember, other families are out there now, hoping to enjoy a safe road trip.

So far, so good.

Here's hoping everyone gets to where they are going safely.

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