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CNN Today

Nation's Airports Jammed as Holiday Travel Commences

Aired December 22, 2000 - 4:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: So if family loyalty or an absence of good sense has lured you from home for the holiday, get your patience ready. The long lines have formed at airports, train stations and on the highways, as one of the busiest travel days of the year is now under way. As you can imagine, New York's airports are really getting a workout. And they're at the center of some holiday travel jams.

Joining us now from one of the nation's busiest airport, LaGuardia, is CNN's Deborah Feyerick -- Deb.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joie, we want to give you a point of comparison. This is one line that doesn't look too bad. However, in the morning, they had their heaviest volumes, some 300 or so flights. And that was between the hours of 7:00 and 10:00. This, right here, as we pan right down, this is the end of another line that stretches down halfway through this terminal.

It stretches past Midway, past United. These people are at the end of the line -- and many of them not exactly happy about it.

Deanna, we're going to pull you out here for a second. Deanna has very nicely agreed to talk to us. First of all, what time did you get to the airport?

DEANNA, AIRLINE TRAVELER: I just got here about 30 or 35 minutes ago.

FEYERICK: What time is your flight?

DEANNA: It's at 6:00.

FEYERICK: Why did you come so early?

DEANNA: Because I didn't get on my flights for the past two years.

FEYERICK: So you are not taking any risks this year.

DEANNA: I hope not. But it doesn't look good.

FEYERICK: Well, what -- were you surprised at the length of this line? I mean, you've got at least a 45 to an hour wait here.

DEANNA: This one was bad. But the years past have been just the same. So I tried to go with a different airline. But the flight before me hasn't taken off yet, so...

FEYERICK: And still you fly around Christmas time.

DEANNA: Better than driving.

FEYERICK: You are very brave. Good luck getting to where you are going.

That is exactly what is happening in a lot of different airports around the country. Some flights here definitely have been canceled, others delayed by an hour -- in some cases, two hours. One group of friends here were supposed to pick up somebody who was arriving from Boston. They simply can't find him.

So a lot of headaches here. You really got to have a sense of humor. We're live at LaGuardia -- back to you, Joie.

CHEN: All right, Deb. Now, Deanna isn't going to lose her place in line because she stopped to talk to you, did she?

FEYERICK: No, no. We are making sure that people are saving everybody's places one we pull people.

CHEN: And there is probably as much traffic coming into the airport as there is trying to get out.

FEYERICK: Absolutely. Oh, and the delays there also extreme: anywhere between an hour-and-a-half to two hours -- in some cases, four hours. People are really just bracing themselves for what's to come.

CHEN: Well, it looks like some folks behind you, at least, have some holiday spirit. Deborah Feyerick for us at LaGuardia airport. She'll be spending a little time there this evening.

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