Severe Storms Slam Turkey Day Travel Rush

Wednesday, November 26th 2014, 12:01 pm
By: News 9

The busiest travel day of the year is being snarled by a massive storm system moving up the East Coast and threatening Thanksgiving plans for millions of Americans, reports CBS News correspondent Vicente Arenas.

"It's gonna get pretty crazy with the weather. It's usually crazy with the holidays anyway, but with the weather, it's gonna be even more crazy," traveler Chris Tieuli said.

Air travel across the country is already seeing an impact from the storm -- nearly 4,000 flights were delayed Tuesday and 138 were cancelled. Airlines are bracing for more of those numbers today as the storm moves into the Northeast.

Nina Francis is trying to fly home to Arizona from New York's La Guardia Airport, but is worried the weather won't cooperate.

She said she was concerned she could end up "stranded, someplace across the country, or being stranded here and missing Thanksgiving with the family."

On Tuesday, air travelers scrambled to move up their flights, and many airlines accommodated their passengers without charging them to change their tickets.

"I didn't get charged a change fee, or a help fee, I didn't get charged anything," Sarah Burke said.

Throughout the Northeast, the storm system has an increasing number of people turning toward rail travel, and Amtrak estimates this Thanksgiving they will break records for passenger travel.

"This is the Super Bowl of travel. This is our busiest time at Amtrak," company spokesperson Craig Schulz said. "A lot of people's expected travel plans may need a second look and we'll be here to accommodate them as best we can."

The highways may not be a better option -- AAA estimates over 40 million drivers will hit the road this Thanksgiving. Many of them will travel on I-95, the primary artery spanning the eastern seaboard. The stretch of the highway between New England and the Mid-Atlantic is forecast to see significant rain, sleet and snow.