CBSN

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Holiday travelers wait for trains at Penn Station, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2005, in New York. Amtrak put an extra 60 trains in service this week in the Northeast Corridor, but many trains were already sold out.
AP
Americans gassed up their cars and toted luggage and families to airports Wednesday, coping with crowds, traffic tie-ups and snow in the dash to get home in time for Thanksgiving turkey.

CBS News correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi reports that the highest Thanksgiving gas prices ever aren't expected to keep travelers from driving either. As one traveler put it, "Grandma doesn't care how much it costs to fill up or how long it takes to get there."

Gasoline at a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike was $2.17 a gallon, reports CBS News correspondent Steve Kathan. "That's up about a quarter from last Thanksgiving, but it feels like a price break for many drivers, who were shelling out $3 a gallon just a few months ago."

Snow fell across parts of the Midwest, but Kate Kehoe wasn't too worried about her trip of about 55 miles from Ann Arbor to Flint, Mich.

"I'm glad gas is not $3 anymore," the preschool teacher said as she filled her tank.

AAA said more than 37 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home during the holiday weekend, undeterred by expensive gasoline, rental cars and hotel rooms. The association, citing a telephone survey, said the number of Thanksgiving travelers is up 0.8 percent from last year.

The Air Transport Association, which represents major airlines, predicted 21.7 million people would fly on U.S. airlines from Nov. 19 to Nov. 29, slightly more than last year's record number.

"Air fares are up probably roughly $40 ... since last February, but that hasn't deterred people," Terry Trippler, an airline analyst with CheapSeats.com, told AP Radio.

If you're flying, you have lots to think about: what to pack — and leave behind — what to wear and how early to get to the airport.

"One look at LaGuardia airport you have to wonder why anyone wants to travel today and especially fly," said Alfonsi on CBS News' The Early Show. "An hour to get your ticket and luggage through, another hour through security. The place is packed."

Alfonsi then boarded a plane from New York to Miami — which was delayed.

Officials at Detroit Metro Airport were advising travelers to arrive two to three hours before their flights, but Ron Dewey of CBS radio station WWJ-AM reports travelers were taking heed.

Tight security, new technology and airlines' financial woes are making air travel more complicated than ever this Thanksgiving, when many travelers take their one big trip of the year.

To compound the problem, more people are flying and fewer planes are being added to the mix, reports Alfonsi. Typically, about 70 percent of seats are filled. This year, it's more like 95 percent.

For the infrequent flyer, there's much to remember even before leaving home. There's the Transportation Security Administration's list of items that can't go into the passenger cabin, such as scissors, small knives and cigarette lighters.