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Thanksgiving Travel: Millions Expected To Pack Area Roads, Airports

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The holiday rush has arrived. Travelers should brace for crowds on the roads, rails and area airports.

AAA predicts 55 million people will travel more than 50 miles for Thanksgiving.

"We think that we're probably likely to screen about 27 million passengers nationwide," Transportation Security Administration spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said Monday.

"It can be very crazy," traveler Elaine Ranciato added.

WATCH: TSA Officials Discuss Holiday Travel At Newark Airport 

People heading to LaGuardia Airport will also have to deal with ongoing construction. To make things easier, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is offering free service on the LaGuardia Link select bus.

As CBS2's Reena Roy found out Wednesday, early was the name of the game at area airports.

"I got here very early. My flight is out at 10. I left at 6," said Jennifer Vandilone, who was on her way to North Carolina.

LaGuardia officials are recommending arriving at least two hours before your flight is scheduled to depart.

"On purpose I booked a flight at 5:45 this morning, which is a little too early but anything to avoid the hecticness of the later in day," Miami-bound Miguel Somoza said.

TSA officials offered a friendly reminder to people traveling with food this week. Gravy and wine need to be checked, but pies and stuffing can be carried on.

MORE: When To Head Out, What Food Can You Bring On Board A Plane, Where To Stop For Gas & More

While many are flying, even more plan to drive. AAA expects the second-highest volume since 2000.

"We know that the worst time is going to be Wednesday afternoon. Everybody gets off work and hits the road," Robert Sinclair told CBSN New York.

The agency said it is expecting the toughest conditions between 5:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Some avoided that by departing on Wednesday morning.

"It has been good. Cool breeze coming down from Massachusetts. There hasn't been much traffic besides New York. But, yeah, it hasn't been bad at all," said Travis Cover, who traveled from Massachusetts.

WATCH: AAA On When To Head Out, Where To Stop For Gas 

Travel experts recommend using mass transit instead. Several MTA trains and buses are operating on special schedules through Sunday, including extra rail service on the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and Staten Island Railway, to keep up with high demand. Amtrak will also have more train on its major routes.

Some nasty weather is expected in parts of the state and country, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time no matter where you're headed.


– FAA Flight Delay Information
– TSA Travel Tips
– CBS News Interactive: U.S. Airport Tracker

LaGuardia Airport (LGA):

– Delays
– Departures 
– Arrivals

John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK):

– Delays
– Departures
– Arrivals
– JFK AirTrain

Newark Airport (EWR):

– Delays
– Departures
– Arrivals
– Newark AirTrain

Other Airports:

– MacArthur Airport
– Teterboro Airport
– Westchester County Airport

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