Thousands return home from holiday travel

A busy day turned into a busy evening at Orlando International Airport as thousands made their way home.

On Sunday alone, airport officials expected about 110,000 people to make their way through the gates and overall about 1.3 million passengers will travel into and out of OIA over the 13 days leading up to and after Thanksgiving. 

“I’m exhausted, I need a nap,” says Alison Nemesek.

Nemesek, her husband Dan, her 7-year-old son Jackson and her 3-year-old daughter, Ava, have been up since 3:30 a.m. Sunday. 

“We don’t normally fly during the holidays, so wasn’t sure what to expect,” Nemesek said.

After driving an hour to catch a flight out of Memphis, what they weren’t expecting is that their bags might not make it. 

“The line was so long they didn’t guarantee they would get here,” Nemesek said.

“We really forgot that this was like the busiest traveling week of the year,” adds her husband, Dan.

So busy, even the entertainment had an early start. 

Band members say airport officials asked them to play two hours earlier than normal. 

“Because they expect a whole bunch more people to be here so they asked us to come in a little early,” said Clyde Jones with Pop-n-Steel.

For passengers like Isabel O’Connell, she had no choice but to get to the airport hours ahead of her own flight to make sure her sister made her flight.

“Sometimes you just have to deal with the crowds,” she said.

Other passengers arrived early on purpose. 

“I had one bad experience a few years ago leaving after Thanksgiving and it was like the line was all the way out the door, so I didn’t want that to happen again,” says Thomas Seland.

According to AAA, 42 million Americans made a road trip. Experts say more people are traveling this year thanks to a better economy and lower gas prices.

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