Few delays at HIA as holiday travel ramps up

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LOWER SWATARA TWP., Pa. - Thousands of passengers took to the skies from Harrisburg International Airport Thursday in hopes of getting a jump on the holiday travel season.

Weather delays were at a minimum from HIA, and people generally were in good spirits.

"Everybody seems pretty organized and pretty relaxed and it's been all good," Terrina Cook, who traveled to central PA from New Orleans, said.

"I got up two hours early before my flight and yeah, everything went well," Steve Stepp, a pro skier from Camp Hill coming back home from Salt Lake City, said.

Unfortunately, there always seems to be a travel nightmare to be found. Just ask Princewill Ohuabunwa of Toronto, who came to Harrisburg to see his family.

He flew to DC "only to find out that my flight [to Harrisburg] got cancelled, so they put us in a van and we had to take the van all the way from DC here, which was about three hours, so my legs were really cramped from that space, we had ten people on the van," he said. "It's been a really bad day.

3,200 passengers in all were expected to travel through HIA Thursday and the same amount Friday.

Airport officials say the airline's do a pretty good job of communicating to their passengers, so they are not expecting the issues that often plague larger airports around the holidays.

"If there's a delay or cancellation, people don't come to the airport. They will wait an hour or two if there's a two-hour delay, whereas in a hub airport like Chicago or Atlanta, you can have people fly in, there's a problem and they're stuck there for hours," airport spokesperson Scott Miller said. "As a starting and stopping point we don't experience those problems. It makes our life a lot easier."

Travelers say they took additional care in their journey.

"I have an extra bag that I don't normally travel with that's got Christmas gifts in it and stuff, so yeah, a little extra baggage," Cook said.

And at the end of the day everyone is here safely for the holidays and that's the most important thing.

"That's the first thing I saw when we came through the clouds off the plane was Ski Roundtop so I'm excited to go ski," Stepp said.

The busiest days at the airport are expected to be next Monday and Friday. On Monday, people are expected to return from their trip an some business travel is expected.

On Friday, airport officials are expecting several charters of Penn State fans heading to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.