PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Millions of people across the country are boarding planes, trains and cars in hopes of getting to their holiday destination on time.
The Thanksgiving holiday travel rush is on with Transportation Security Administration screening lines backing up at Philadelphia International Airport.
The TSA projects 24 million Americans will trek through the nation’s airports this Thanksgiving holiday as thousands will make their way through Philadelphia.
“Usually we get about 82,000 people through the airport every day, that will increase by 5 percent, so things will get a little more crowded,” said airport spokesperson Mary Flannery.
AAA believes the increase in air travel is due to discounted round-trip flights, meaning space on board could be at a minimum.
“Planes will be 90 percent full, so we want passengers to get here early so they get to their fate on time,” said Flannery.
Rick Fox and his family breezed through airport check-in on their way to Chicago.
“I’m really excited, gonna spend time with my husbands family, get a break in. I’m a teacher so I’m gonna get some time off,” said Rivkah Fox.
Before dawn, a long line made of early-to-rise travelers snaked through the Terminal D/E checkpoint at the airport.
“It’s kind of expected. It’s that time of the year,” said Kay who is traveling home to Georgia.
It can be hectic getting around the day before Thanksgiving, but travelers like 15-year-old Andrew from Exton had sunny thoughts as he’s heading to Tampa.
“I like going to Florida and seeing my family, and we go to the beach there and that’s fun,” he said.
Sue Hanson is headed to Los Angeles to be with her son. She’s the chef in the family.
“I’ll be making the food when I get there. I sent a shopping list,” she said.
With a lot of cooking to do, Hanson says she’ll be catching up on her sleep up in the air.
“That will be the only rest I get, yes,” she said.
It’s also been busy on the rails.
By mid-morning, the Amtrak hub was bustling with activity as travelers wheel their baggage over to benches where they flop down and wait for the signal to board.
“Last year, we saw upwards of 750,000 people travel on Amtrak trains at 500 destinations throughout the country, so we are anticipating that same mount if not fire again this year,” said Amtrak’s Beth Toll.
Amtrak has added extra trains and expanded operations to handle an anticipated 750,000 passengers during the extended holiday weekend.
Tickets can be purchased at the station, online or by phone. Amtrak recommends passengers arrive at least 45 minutes before boarding.
For truck driver Fred Maloney, the holiday travel means spending the night at the rest stop.
“Here are my sleeping quarters. My fridge is right here,” said Maloney, who invited CBS3 to take a peek inside of his Thanksgiving home away from home. “I can make my own Thanksgiving dinner right in the truck if I need to.”
Maloney is a long-haul truck driver and since many stores and loading station are closed for the holiday, he’s happy to rest up at a South Jersey rest stop and relax in the back of his cab.
“I unloaded today and I reload on Friday so I’m going to be here for Thanksgiving,” he said.
Since so many truckers are in the same boat, this particular rest area hosts a Thursday dinner.
It’s a happy relief after dealing with the loaded freeways.
“I like to drive at nighttime to really avoid all of the daytime traffic especially out here on the east coast,” said Hiram Oliver, a truck driver who lives in California and originally hails from Philadelphia.
When making it home is in the cards, this season is proof that there is no station, terminal or roadway too crowded.
“How many holidays do you think you’ve missed with your family because of your job?” reporter Alexandria Hoff asked Maryland truck driver Lennox Honore.
“Just a few,” he said from the driver seat of his front cab,” I’m on my way going home right now!