PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Holiday travelers hit the ground running Wednesday morning, with many going to the Philadelphia International Airport and Amtrak stations to get on their way. The airport anticipates more than 848,000 people passing through the airport for Thanksgiving holiday travel.
CBS3’s Jan Carabeo was at the airport early Wednesday morning as a steady stream of travelers went through the TSA checkpoints, although the line moved quickly.
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However, that can always change. The airport is suggesting you get here at least three hours before your boarding time.
NOW: Steady stream of travelers making their way through the security checkpoint between Terminal D and E. Only a short wait at this point, but @PHLAirport is encouraging passengers to arrive three hours early. Live reports ahead on @CBSPhilly. pic.twitter.com/BlnrGATdWK
— Jan Carabeo (@JanCarabeoCBS3) November 24, 2021
Many people will be traveling for the first time in nearly two years, and there are some changes at the airport, starting before you even step foot inside the terminal.
Parking is extremely limited, with the economy lot is now permanently closed. The garages have 12,000 parking spots, but those go fast.
Travelers are being strongly encouraged to use the airport’s nine off-site parking partners, with around 8,700 parking spots at additional lots. Public transportation or rideshares are also encouraged.
Masks are still required due to a federal mandate that expires next year.
Travelers up bright and early on Wednesday said they’re excited for a bit of normalcy but anxious for the changes.
“This is a first for me to fly during the pandemic, so I’m a little nervous. I don’t know what to expect, especially with the kids,” a woman told CBS3. “Hopefully people don’t get too crazy.”
She also said she is excited to see family despite the traveling.
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“It’s a family holiday, I’m looking forward to getting there,” she said.
Whether by air or by rail, passengers are getting in the holiday spirit. Nothing screams holiday like a train ride, and people are at the Amtrak station on 30th Street for a day of riding.
Families told CBS3 this a very economical way to go especially if you’re not going too far and don’t want to pay to fly or gas prices.
Take a look at these numbers ridership took a huge hit between 2019 to 2020 especially during thanksgiving week, mostly due to the pandemic and travel. But as more people are getting vaccinated those numbers are going right back up.
Some riders simply prefer to take in the train ride.
“I like it, it’s comfortable, more comfortable than the bus,” Rider William Rosavo told CBS3. “I really like it, it’s comfortable. I would like to go first class if you pay.”
Amtrak is really encouraging people to download their app. You can purchase your ticket, check in but you can also able to check availability.
For a complete holiday guide, including travel and Black Friday shopping, click here.
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CBS3’s Jan Carabeo and Wakisha Bailey contributed to this report.
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