Drop in Thanksgiving travel expected - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Drop in Thanksgiving travel expected

by Bryan Goettel

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Lines were light Tuesday at the Eastern Iowa Airport. They're expected to pick up Wednesday, but experts still anticipate a significant drop in air travel this holiday season.

When it comes to seeing family over the holidays, people will do whatever it takes.

"I see my brother maybe once every five years so we were gonna make sure we got there," said Waverly resident Judy Buss, who was flying to Tulsa to visit her brother.

So far at the airport, it's been smooth sailing.

"From the look of security lines, it's going to be even easier going through security," said John Remmert, who was on his way to see his daughter in Dallas.

There are several reasons. One, fewer people are flying this Thanksgiving.  AAA estimates air travel to fall by seven percent. Many planes are coming and going from Cedar Rapids with empty seats.

"It's kind of a mixed bag from what I've checked into," said Eastern Iowa Airport Director of Marketing Pam Hinman.  "Some airlines are saying they're 99 percent full here and other airlines are saying it's just going to be okay."

Another factor is the weather. Last year, a snowstorm hit Eastern Iowa just before Thanksgiving. This year, skies are clear.

"People can get out on time and it just makes it a lot easier for folks," said Hinman.

With dry roads and low gas prices, many like Barb Belchak are choosing to drive.

"It's made a big difference," said Belchak. "It's in half so we're grateful for that."

For those who will be flying over the holiday season, expect some changes. There will be two lines at security -- one for families with small children and casual travelers and a separate line for the expert traveler.  It's all in an attempt to get people through security faster.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

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