New York

Millions Hit the Road as Busy Holiday Travel Weekend Begins

What to Know

  • AAA projects this will be the busiest holiday travel season on record, with 100 million driving and six million flying
  • LaGuardia Airport was running smoothly Friday morning, but the number of travelers was building by afternoon
  • People were also hitting the rails, opting for a mode of transportation that doesn't involve maddening security lines or traffic

Thousands of families packed cars and planes Friday to kick off what's expected to be the busiest holiday travel weekend on record.

Those who arrived early at LaGuardia Airport Friday were relieved to find things running smoothly despite ongoing construction there.

Andrea Taetle was heading out of town with her family. She said she had a “very, very easy” experience at the airport despite running late with “three kids and 150 million bags.”

But as the day wore on, travel got more chaotic. On a jam-packed Q70 bus Friday afternoon, drivers said they took the bus to avoid airport-bound traffic.

Pam Hess described city's traffic as a “red hot mess” and said she and her family were taking Amtrak from New York to Virginia.

Of course, Penn Station has had its own issues this year, and rail stations were full of security just weeks after an attempted bombing in a subway pedestrian tunnel near Times Square.

In all, AAA is projecting the 2017 holiday travel season to be the busiest on record. Some six million people are expected to fly and another 100 million to drive through New Year’s Day.

AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair, Jr. told NBC 4 travelers should leave extra time, especially if they’re traveling out of LaGuardia, with its ongoing construction.

“When they get this thing done in another four years or so, it will be beautiful. But in the meantime it’s going to be very, very difficult getting to and through this airport,” Sinclair said.

AAA says those driving should make sure their vehicles are prepared for travel. The most common problems the organization sees for drivers are flat tires, dead batteries and people getting locked out of their cars.

Motorists on New York highways may notice smoother travel thanks to a lack of construction-related lane closures.

Gov. Cuomo said Thursday all non-essential lane closures will be suspended beginning Friday and running through Tuesday, and then again in the days leading up to the New Year's holiday.

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