Despite winds that were whipping up gusts of 37 mph around noon Wednesday, most flights were arriving and departing with no major delays at Atlanta’s airport, the world’s busiest. Several flights to and from Philadelphia and metro New York’s three major airports were delayed, the airport’s flight monitors showed.
For the first time this fall, crews had to de-ice jets in the early morning hours, which caused departing planes to be delayed by 20 to 40 minutes, said Louis Miller, aviation general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. But things were moving well by late in the morning and no major problems were expected the rest of the day, Miller said.
Wednesday was expected to be the second-busiest day for Hartsfield-Jackson International, with Sunday projected to be the busiest of the Thanksgiving holiday period, Miller said.
At the airport, traveler Andrea Aguilera, 35, arrived from Los Angles to spend Thanksgiving with loved ones.
She had to reschedule her flight because she booked it for the week before, thinking that was Thanksgiving.
“So I had to take a red-eye last night, which is such a challenging way to travel — trying to sleep on the plane. And getting in here so early that no one’s around to pick you up,” Aguilera said. “So I feel like it’s just all part of the crazy holiday travel. You just do what you have to do to get home.”
Caleb Neuhalfen, 19, was traveling with seven other recent graduates of basic training at Georgia’s Ft. Benning. They were heading to different Army bases around the nation.
“Last night, we didn’t get much sleep, we were cleaning our bays and getting ready for today,” he said. “So most of us have about one hour of sleep in us so far. So, most of us are ready to get on the plane and just sleep and relax for the rest of the day.”
About 1.24 million Georgians were expected to travel at least 50 miles during the Thanksgiving holiday period, said Jessica Brady, a spokeswoman with AAA. She said the vast majority — 1.12 million — planned to drive. Many others were flying or traveling by train or bus.
“We don’t foresee the weather changing people’s overall vacation plans — it might take a little more time to get where they’re going,” Brady said.
Before daybreak Wednesday, several parked cars were covered with a light coat of snow at a gas station along Interstate 85 in Hogansville, about 55 miles southwest of Atlanta. Though it was light, the snow slowed travel on I-85 but the little amount of snow that fell quickly disappeared after sunrise.