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O'Hare, Midway airports anticipate busy 4th of July travel; first time since start of pandemic

Chicago airports expect more July 4 travelers this year
Chicago airports expect more July 4th travelers this year 02:10

CHICAGO (CBS) – Travel is back in full swing. O'Hare and Midway airports are preparing for a busy 4th of July travel this weekend.

CBS 2's Marissa Parra provides travel stats and some advice for those who are taking to the skies this weekend. 

A total of 1.6 million passengers are expected to pass through both airports -- marking the busiest travel weekend since the start of the pandemic. For some, that will mean increased revenue as taxis hope that big crowds mean more business. 

And likely -- big headaches for travelers. 

"I was just like… as long as I can get there as early as possible and get out, I"m just ready to go home and see my family," said Emmanuel Johnson.

Johnson is one of many who booked an early flight to try to beat the rush. 

Another traveler said his plan is to just follow along. 

"Follow my wife -- she puts everything together," said John Zellerbrach.

Travel may be back, but it's not exactly the way it was before. Over the last year, we've done stories on how staffing shortages have led to plenty of canceled and delayed flights.

In fact, delta airlines is trying to get ahead of that by giving passengers a special waiver -- a chance to re-book their flights without any fees ahead of what they foresee to be a "potentially challenging" few days. 

Delta passengers flying through July 4, qualify for the re-book waiver.

If you're not taking Delta and worried that your flight will be canceled, sign up for email alerts with your airline if you haven't already. 

FlightAware is another great resource to stay on top of your flight status -- allowing you the ability to act fast and either ask for a refund or even a hotel room to stay in should a flight is delayed or canceled.

In addition to your belongings and snacks, pack your patience if you're traveling this weekend. Other advice travelers are suggesting...

"Get to the airport as early as you can," Johnson said. 

"Lower prices, larger crowds," said Mary Ellen Zellerbach.

"Just fly off hours. That's the secret," said John Zellerbach.  

Between now and Tuesday, O'Hare says they'll see an increase of 17.3 percent compared to 2021 while Midway will see a 36.9 percent jump.

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