Inclement Atlantic weather hinders Thanksgiving travel



Nelly Su, of Miami, rests in the arms of her sleeping boyfriend Mike Thomas, as Satish Venkat, rear, also tries to nap before their flights out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Monday, Nov. 26, 2007, in Atlanta. Su missed her flight to Miami w John Amis, The Associated Press

By Pat Milton

NEW YORK – The long Thanksgiving weekend got a bit longer Monday for some people trying to leave the nation’s largest city, where rain and poor visibility delayed some flights for hours.

Still, much of the rest of the country enjoyed good weather and few flight delays, and a feared ripple effect from delays on the rainy East Coast apparently never transpired.

That was little comfort to travelers stuck in New York.

“I thought this would be an easier travel day,” said 12-year-old Maria Burgos, who was trying to fly home to Miami on Monday instead of Sunday after spending the holiday with her grandmother and aunt in the Bronx.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, arrivals at LaGuardia were delayed three hours throughout much of the day. There were two-hour delays at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and one-hour delays at Kennedy International Airport.

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    Thirty flights at LaGuardia were canceled, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates New York City-area airports.

    At LaGuardia, the monitors showed a steady stream of canceled and delayed flights.

    Amy Ma, a freshman at the University of Notre Dame, was trying to get back to Indiana by way of Chicago when she looked up at the board and saw that her flight had been canceled.

    “I panicked,” she said. “But then my dad and I went to the agent and she booked us on another flight, which was good. But now that flight is delayed two hours.”

    The FAA reported delays of 15 minutes or less at Los Angeles International Airport, at Chicago Midway Airport, at Washington Dulles Airport and at other major airports. There were delays, blamed on rain and fog, at Logan International in Boston and at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

    A spokeswoman for the Atlanta airport said nearly 306,000 passengers were expected to pass through the airport Monday. Sunday was projected as the heaviest day of the Thanksgiving period, with some 324,000 travelers at the airport.

    According to an AAA estimate made before the holiday, a record 38.7 million U.S. residents were expected to travel 50 miles or more between Wednesday and Sunday, up about 1.5 percent from last year.

    About 4.7 million were expected to fly, and about 31.2 million travelers were still likely to drive in spite of rising gasoline prices.