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Winter Weather Makes Chances for Holiday Travel

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. — Millions hit the road for their holiday destinations, packing the roads and crowding the airports. AAA predicted the largest travel increase for any major holiday in 2009. With a little more than 24 hours left before Christmas the big push is on for holiday travelers.

87.7 million Americans are traveling 50 miles or more for the holidays.

That’s an increase of 3.8 percent from last year.

And 4.2 million people will fly to their holiday destination.

With a winter storm still leaving our area, the Colorado Springs airport is dealing with weather related delays.

A few are because of the weather here… but most are because of the weather farther east.

The Colorado Springs airport is buzzing with activity as people try and get home for the holidays.

Nick Colman is trying to get to San José California to spend Christmas with his family.

“I’m supposed to be taking off about 20 minutes from now about 4:00 but the flight is actually taking off about 7:10,” Colman said.

Lucky for him, he will still be able to catch his connecting flight out of Denver.

Airport officials say Colman’s situation is typical of what they are seeing today.

“We have seen some delays today primarily delays through the Denver hub,” said airport official John McGinley.

But there have been few if any cancellations or delays because of the weather here.

All night crews here hustled to keep the runway’s and tarmac clear of snow.

“I fly a lot and I’m used to delays you just got to have patience its the holiday season everybody’s flying there’s snow all over the place,” Colman said.

As this storm moves east experts expect it will cause delays and cancellations in places like Chicago which can have a domino effect on the rest of the air travel system.

So travel experts recommend building in extra time into your travel plans.

“Arrive at the airport one hour before their departure time now when we have weather what we recommend is passengers allow that additional time to get to the airport,” McGinley said.

And Nick Colman reminds everyone to save a little holiday cheer for the people who help get us where we are going.

“It just kind of stinks because everyone gets impatient with the people here at the counter and they yell at them and its not their fault,” said Colman.

Experts estimate about a third of the U.S. population will travel this holiday season.

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