Holiday travel rush begins

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Today is the start of the official end-of-the-year holiday travel period, according to TSA. With millions expected to hit the skies and roads, what delays can travelers expect?

The busiest days are projected to be December 21st, December 29th, and January 1st, where 2.5 million people are expected to be screened each day, according to TSA.

“I checked, double-checked, made sure I had my tickets scheduled, and paid for them last night so I could get here,” said traveler Timmy Williams.

Williams arrived at Pitt Greenville Airport with 6 hours to spare, wanting to take no chances of missing his flight to Texas to surprise his son, who is in the military, for the holidays.

While his situation may be a bit extreme, the TSA is expecting security checkpoints to be busier this year compared to last year.

“You know we have 50-passenger aircraft so you don’t have to worry about the crowds here even during the holidays,” said Pitt Greenville Airport’s Executive Director Bill Hopper. “On the other end when you’re trying to return, you’re going to want to have plenty of time and bring your patience.”

If you’re coming through a smaller airport, Hopper said while it may feel like a breeze, leave enough time for the unexpected.

“A lot of airlines shut off their check-in and baggage check-in an hour before the flight, so you want to make sure that you’re going to go out and enjoy that vacation during the holidays,” said Hopper.

As for drivers, Triple-A expects nearly 104 million drivers, making it the second-highest number on record. Traveler Michael Hess said he hopes to beat the 5:00 p.m. traffic as he heads back home to Wilmington but is worried he might face some obstacles.

“Sometimes there are accidents,” said Hess. “I hope there’s not because that usually prohibits the distance, but it’s mainly the single-lane roads heading back home that I’m worried about.”

Triple-A also says December 23rd and 28th will be the most congested days on the road, so leave before 10 a.m. to make your holidays a little less stressful.