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updated: 11/21/2012 10:16 PM

O'Hare travelers weather fog delays

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  • Don and Deb Hunt from Batavia with son Nathan, 4, head out of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport en route to Buffalo, New York.

       Don and Deb Hunt from Batavia with son Nathan, 4, head out of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport en route to Buffalo, New York.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Weather delays popped up on the flight departures board at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Many flights were delayed by morning fog.

       Weather delays popped up on the flight departures board at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Many flights were delayed by morning fog.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Brittany Trauthwein of Chicago and her dog Tiffany head out of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on a foggy Wednesday hoping to make it to North Carolina to see family.

       Brittany Trauthwein of Chicago and her dog Tiffany head out of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on a foggy Wednesday hoping to make it to North Carolina to see family.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 

Fog put a damper on travel plans for thousands of passengers at O'Hare International Airport Wednesday, but it wasn't an issue for the Hunt family en route to Buffalo from Batavia.

"So far, so good," said Deb Hunt as she waited in line at Terminal One with husband Don, son Nathan, 4, and 7-month-old Marissa. "This is the first time traveling with the four of us," the Batavia resident said.

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"It takes planning," Don Hunt added.

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 130 flights were canceled at O'Hare and more than 50 at Midway International Airport because of poor visibility caused by the morning fog. O'Hare was operating normally except for some regional carriers, but several airlines at Midway were still experiencing delays of up to 90 minutes.

The scene at O'Hare, however, was relatively calm for one of the busiest travel days of the year.

The Chicago Department of Aviation predicts 1.8 million fliers will head through the two airports between Nov. 20 and Nov. 27. Sunday should see the heaviest passenger traffic with more than 250,000 passengers expected at O'Hare and more than 78,000 at Midway.

Walter and Anne Smith left McHenry in plenty of time to meet No. 4 son, Peter, who was flying in from New Jersey.

The couple were a picture of calm amid holiday bustle, sitting with coffee and a book while they waited the arrival of the Seton Hall University sophomore's flight.

Both Smiths said they looked forward to some quality turkey time with their youngest over Thanksgiving.

"I like the time off," Walter Smith said.

"I like family coming home," Anne Smith.

Nationwide, about 43.6 million Americans will take a trip 50 miles or more from home over Thanksgiving, AAA projects. That's a slight uptick from 2011 when 43.3 million made a Turkey Day journey.

In Illinois, 2.1 million folks will hit the road this year, taking advantage of slightly lower gas prices averaging around $3.49 for a gallon of regular statewide.

Both the Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois tollway are giving drivers a break by suspending construction over the Thanksgiving lull.

The tollway predicted that about 10 million vehicles will travel on its system during the holiday with the bulk of drivers on Wednesday.

The agency is now offering drivers a chance to follow individual toll roads on Twitter. For more information, go to www.illinoistollway.com/roadway-information.

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