Skip to main content
/US
  Edition: U.S. | Arabic | Set Pref

CNN.com readers share tales of terrible travel, pleasant surprises

Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

(CNN) -- Some CNN.com readers make it a policy to stay home for the holidays, while for others, a tumultuous day at the airport is a small price to pay for turkey in the company of loved ones.

art.travel.clark.irpt.jpg

Ed Clark photographed this snowy airplane window before his plane was de-iced in Idaho.

We asked readers to share their holiday travel tales and their reasons for braving the airport. Below is a selection of their responses, some of which have been edited for length and clarity.

AJ of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
I work on the ramp for a major airline and it's amazing just how busy it gets, and I'm not even at a major international airport, so I can't imagine the stress one must go through in a large airport with the lines and security. I feel for you people! The only downside is the unnecessarily heavy 80-100 lbs. bags. Is it really necessary to pack so heavy? Take a few minutes to really think about what you need to take, plus you're saving yourself money because most airlines charge fees for heavy bags. With that, wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels!

Alan of Detroit, Michigan
I have logged approximately 13 flight segments since July of this year. I also have flown Northwest because of Detroit being one of its main hubs. Outside of long lines at security I have not had many problems traveling for business and pleasure this year.

A few tips from a frequent flyer: Read the TSA recommendations on their Web site; don't take change in your pockets; and put your keys in your carry-on. This will help get through security faster.

Use curbside check-in and print your boarding passes before you go to the airport. I am traveling alone today to Charlotte [North Carolina] from Detroit and I will be at the airport three hours early with my boarding pass in hand. I will check my bags at the curb and then go park my car. Easy.

Join a frequent flyer plan and try to stay on the same airline and fly nonstop whenever possible. I will be at the airport this afternoon four hours before my flight leaves hanging out in the WorldPerks club. Delays can happen but I guess I've been lucky to not have a delay longer than 30 minutes for any of my flights around the U.S. this year. Pre-planning helps a bunch. Have a great and safe Thanksgiving!

Bill of Tyler, Texas
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! For those of you traveling, have a safe trip and enjoy the relatives.

Just wanted to pass on something I have been doing for some time now. When I am scheduled for a trip, even a weekender, and am going to fly to my destination, I ship my luggage to the destination via UPS; same for the return. You can ship what you want and need, only leaving you a small carry-on bag on your trip. Works great and doesn't really cost that much. Sure makes the trip easier.

Joe of Buffalo, New York
I travel every week for my job and have for the last four years. It does keep getting worse. For example, I was on six different flights and two different airlines last week. Guess what? Each and every one of them was delayed or cancelled and the shortest delay was about two hours. The airline as an industry is in trouble and I do not see any light at the end of the tunnel. The government needs to step in and regulate these airlines that have begun to use all of these delays to their advantage!!!

Brent of Washington, D.C.
It's time people started thinking differently about their lives. Why do we all need to do holidays and go visit family on the same days? Why do so many of us work the same times (9 - 5)? Traffic, line waits and such get worse and worse every year because of this crush of people that insist on running their lives on this accepted schedule. It's time we thought of alternative ways to alleviate this problem. Thanksgiving is just a day like any other day; it is no different if you celebrate it tomorrow or next week. Workplaces should be given tax incentives to encourage alternate working hours and vacation times. The years I worked 3 p.m. - 11 p.m. were the most stress-free of my life.

Jean of Azle, Texas
To the person who says Thanksgiving is just another day, boy do you have it wrong. It is the day we publicly give thanks for what we have been blessed with. Every day we should give thanks but on Thanksgiving it is a special day to gather as friends and family to do so. Maybe you like to work 3 - 11 p.m. but the rest of the world lives in real time. Many of us live great distances from family and want to be with them on the holidays. It is time for those who agree to step up to the plate and say so.

James of Windsor, Canada
Gas prices high? Stay out of Canada; here it is $4.00 per gallon!

Lisa of Richmond, Virginia
If people have not figured out by now that holiday travel is likely to be stressful and fraught with obstacles, then maybe they should stay under their rocks and not even attempt it. Such is the nature of the season!

Kyle Hendricksen of Chicago, Illinois
I decided to travel on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. I was going home from many months of travel. I arrived at DFW [Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, airport] only to learn the flights into Chicago, Illinois, were all delayed due to weather. I was early for my 1644 hours flight and the Chicago flight that was supposed to leave at 1400 hours was still at the gate. The United agent immediately offered to put me on the earlier flight and within 45 minutes I was in the air (90 minutes earlier than expected and three hours earlier than my original flight took off). I travel a great deal and know this isn't normal, but I wanted to share a good experience since so many bad ones will come in today.

Mark Perkins of Eunice, Louisiana
Just in case you didn't know, I-10 in south Louisiana has been closed because of a well blowout since last week and is not supposed to re-open until December 4. Yesterday they had traffic backed up for 10 miles on the detour routes.

Brian Ock of Denver, Colorado
Trying to get from Denver to South Texas by car -- Snowing in Denver with multiple car accidents from Denver to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Larry Droguett of Bainbridge Island, Washington
After all the reports of travel crowds, I was pleasantly surprised to find my local smaller airport in Burbank, California, totally empty with not one person in the security line last Saturday, November 17. Apparently the day all holiday traffic was to start, everyone was scared away.

Rick Martinez of Miami, Florida
I'm at Miami International Airport watching [CNN] Headline News and am extremely impressed with how calm and empty the airport feels. Security was very surprisingly the smoothest and quickest I've seen it in years (and I'm a frequent flyer!). Only bump in the road: I must give kudos to airport security for "catching" me with a 3.2 oz bottle of cologne by looking at X-ray alone. Took it back to my car, got back in line, was back on the way to my gate in just a few minutes. I expect a surprisingly smooth and great traveling day.

Johnny Rassmuller of Texas
There are so many MORE commercial flights these days (but the same wintry weather every year and same number of airports every year). Of course, the number of delays will rise. Add more airport security measures and you could not pay me to fly commercial anymore; it's not worth the indignities.

No wonder the major airlines are frightened to death of competition from the new small charter jets. No long lines, no hub-and-spoke connections, direct to small airports actually close to where I live and where I need to go, and I'm actually treated as a person.

Sorry, but the days of holding pens and being treated as cattle through chutes are over for me. It's worth the extra to actually have a pleasant trip. Even Al Gore concedes that the environment comes in second to a pleasant flight on a private jet so no emotional guilt for me.

Hope Gramlich of Florida
Weather or not, communications problems or not, Mr. President, opening more air space from the military for commercial traffic will only make for more danger. It will allow more planes in the air with nowhere to land them. Holding patterns will be larger and fuel will get lower. We need more runways and more air traffic controllers to watch them. But in the past five years you have not listened to what anyone said so I guess I will go now and just watch all the delays. Thank God I am not flying.

John of Tennessee
People just need to stay where they are. They should stay at home and enjoy the holidays instead of traveling during this time of year. All you hear is complaints about airline delays and traffic jams. Just stay at home and you can avoid this!

Kristin of Pennsylvania
John, some people don't have the luxury of living in the same city and/or state as our immediate family and thus have to travel in order to "stay home and enjoy the holidays." For those of us that spend months looking forward to spending our few days off with those we love, it's worth the trouble.

advertisement

G.T. Mason of New York
John, for those of us who live alone and far from our family, the travel troubles of the holidays are a small price to pay for seeing our families and spending time with loved ones whom we don't see often. I think your response is appropriate to people who whine and complain about the travel problems, but please don't give everyone a blanket solution like, "just stay wherever you are for the holidays." You never know ... a visit with family and loved ones may the last.

Janelle of Massachusetts
I agree with G. T. Mason, spending time with family is worth it all. I may not always enjoy the travel experience, but just the thought of being together once more with friends and loved ones each year I count a blessing. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print
Home  |  Asia  |  Europe  |  U.S.  |  World  |  World Business  |  Technology  |  Entertainment  |  World Sport  |  Travel
Podcasts  |  Blogs  |  CNN Mobile  |  RSS Feeds  |  Email Alerts  |  CNN Radio  |  Site Map
© 2009 Cable News Network. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.