Bay Area airports seeing big increase in air travel

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- If you're starting your holiday travel this day before Thanksgiving, be ready for extra crowds, security and even some issues with the weather across the country.

Mineta San Jose International Airport has seen an increase in travelers.

"We were worried about the lines and the traffic, but so far we are lucky right now," said Devin Wikke, a San Jose resident.

It's definitely a different experience for passengers who don't travel during the holidays.

"It was expecting long lines, but my husband was gracious enough to book an early flight. But, there are still the lines," Margie Austria from Sunnyvale.

It's expected it to be busy at all the Bay Area airports for Wednesday.

Analysts say 25 million people will travel by plane during the Thanksgiving holiday week. That's the highest number since the great recession hit in 2008.

Nearly 47 million Americans are expected to take a car, plane, bus or train at least 50 miles from home over the long holiday weekend, according to AAA. That's the most travelers since 2007, a rise attributed to an improving economy and the cheapest gasoline for this time of year since 2008.

Despite the stepped security and long lines, traveling through the three largest Bay Area airports Wednesday morning is going smoothly, airport officials said.

"Things are moving quite well," San Jose airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said.

Officials at SFO are expecting 144,000 passengers in and out of the airport today.

But these aren't even the busiest days for the holiday travel season. Those days are the Friday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

The busiest day at SFO and Oakland International Airport will be Sunday as travelers return from trips to family and friends, airport officials said.

The busiest day at San Jose International Airport will be Monday as travelers return from trips, business travelers leave on business trips and fans leave Santa Clara after Sunday's San Francisco 49ers game, Barnes said.

Oakland airport officials are expecting 45,000 people through the airport Sunday, spokeswoman Keonnis Taylor said. Oakland airport officials said they expect number of travelers through the airport during the Thanksgiving holiday to be up 9 percent from last year.

San Jose airport officials expect an increase of 5 percent during the Thanksgiving holiday and San Francisco airport officials expect a 7.8 percent increase in the number of passengers from Nov. 20 to Jan. 4, according to airport officials.

Click here for coverage on Thanksgiving.

Bay City News contributed to this story.

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