Source AP ©

US holiday travelers face weather-caused delays

Weather conditions in the U.S. East caused flight delays for holiday travelers who were going home after the Thanksgiving weekend.

Security line waiting times at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport one of the busiest in the country steadily improved during the morning, but travelers were expected to face growing problems later because of the weather-caused delays elsewhere, AirTran spokesman Dave Hirschman said.

"The bad news is that the Northeast has really been slammed today," he said. The delay to get an AirTran flight out of Philadelphia at midmorning was 68 minutes, New York's LaGuardia three hours, and Newark 76 minutes, he said.

Delayed travelers arriving in Atlanta may find that their connecting flights have already left, and it will be harder for them to catch later flights since most departing planes are 80 percent full.

"This is an extremely busy flying day, especially in the Northeast," Hirschman said. "When they fall behind early, it's nearly impossible to catch up as the day goes on. These delays are going to ripple throughout the network."

Arrivals at LaGuardia also were delayed up to three hours, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Delays at the metro area's Newark Liberty Airport averaged one hour and 37 minutes, but New York's Kennedy International was not affected, Coleman said.

However, Boston's Logan International Airport had no major delays in arrivals or departures Monday morning, according to its Web site.

Things were better in the Midwest and West. At O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, the nation's second-busiest airport, minor delays were reported Monday morning because of fog.

The American Automobile Association said its surveys indicated a record 38.7 million U.S. residents had been likely to travel 50 miles (80 kilometers) or more for the holiday period of Wednesday through Sunday, up about 1.5 percent from last year. About 4.7 million had been expected to fly, and about 31.2 million travelers had been likely to drive in spite of rising gasoline prices.

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