Millions of Americans began hitting the roads, skies and train tracks early Wednesday in what was predicted to be the largest Thanksgiving pilgrimage ever - despite rising gas prices and fears of air delays.
A record 38.7 million U.S. residents were expected to travel 50 miles or more for the holiday. Some were hoping to beat the evening rush on what is often called the busiest travel day of the year.
At the Salt Lake City airport, Dennis Tos happily boarded his redeye flight without having to endure long lines at security and ticket gates.
"I specifically chose this hour to not get stuck in an airport. The horror stories kind of bothered me," he said en route to a family reunion near Buffalo, N.Y. "I've never missed a Thanksgiving in the 58 years I've been alive."
About 31.2 million travelers were expected to drive to holiday celebrations in spite of gas prices that were nearly 85 cents more
per gallon than they were a year earlier, according to AAA. The
national average for regular gasoline on Nov. 16 was $3.09 a
gallon, up from $2.23 on Nov. 17, 2006.