By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Tens of millions of Americans will be traveling this week to catch up with loved ones and friends for Thanksgiving. But for many of those taking to the sky to reach their destinations, the journey has already begun.

As director of US Airways’ hub-control center at Philadelphia International Airport, D.J. Westbrock spends his days in the ground control tower. He says Thanksgiving air travel has changed.

“In the past everybody used to leave on Wednesday and everybody wanted to come home on Sunday and those were the days I dreaded working,” he says. “I hated working the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Thanksgiving cause you got killed. It’s not that way now. I think people are taking that week more now.”

Westbrock says the airlines load factors are already robust will remain that way through early Thursday.

Post holiday, Westbrock expects traffic to fall back into the familiar pattern of building on Saturday and peaking on Sunday.

AAA Mid-Atlantic projects about 3.1 million people will fly to their Thanksgiving destinations this week. That’s slightly down from 2012.

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