Thanksgiving travel tests airport security; snowstorm delays tr

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Thanksgiving holiday travelers took to the skies Wednesday in the biggest test of airport security since the federal government took it over last week, while drivers in the Northeast faced heavy, wet snow.

Around the country, only a handful of flights were delayed. Travelers were waiting an average of less than 10 minutes at major airports' checkpoints, said Robert Johnson, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration.

"In Miami, the lines are longer at the Lotto ticket counter," he said.

Drivers in the Northeast, meanwhile, slogged through storms that left as much as 10 inches of snow in Connecticut and 5 inches in parts of Massachusetts. Farther west, more than a foot of snow fell on parts of Michigan.

At least one highway fatality in Massachusetts was blamed on the weather. In Connecticut, schools were closed and more than 14,000 customers lost electricity. The power was expected to be restored by evening.

While terminals were crowded Wednesday, airlines expected Saturday and Sunday to be even busier.

The AAA travel group predicted air travel nationwide would climb 6 percent compared to last Thanksgiving, which came 10 weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Just last week, the government finished placing more than 47,000 security workers at 424 airports nationwide. The TSA was created after the attacks prompted concern about inefficient and inattentive private security workers.

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