O'Hare Hums on Busy Day

Planned protests of enhanced pat downs fizzles out in Chicago

By Ally Clark
|  Wednesday, Nov 24, 2010  |  Updated 5:27 PM CDT
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Officials say there haven't been too many issues Wednesday. But travelers have concerns.

Officials say there haven't been too many issues Wednesday. But travelers have concerns.

Travellers at Chicago's airports so far have managed to avoid burdensome delays that were rumored for weeks.

Just five people were seen at O'Hare International Airport, handing out fliers as part of a loosely-organized effort dubbed National Opt-Out Day to highlight what some call unnecessarily intrusive security screenings. The screenings have been lampooned on "Saturday Night Live" and mocked on T-shirts, bumper stickers and underwear emblazoned "Don't Touch My Junk," from a line uttered by a traveler in San Diego who objected to a pat-down.

The pat down protests never materialized at O'Hare and Midway and security lines were moving smoothly.

Orbitz.com Senior Travel Editor Jeanenne Tornatore predicted that the planned protests would fizzle out.

"Our travel agents have not heard from any clients that this is a problem in anyway," she said.

Some O'Hare patrons said they're more concerned with the scanners.

"I do not have a problem with the pat downs," said one traveler. "But the scanners I'm not OK with.

Despite the smooth travel reports, officials recommend planning ahead.

O'Hare Airport expects about 212,000 passengers to traverse its halls, and Midway expects another 74,000 said Karen Pride, spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Aviation.  More than 40 million people plan to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA, with more than 1.6 million flying -- a 3.5 percent increase from last year.

Pride recommend following a few rules to keep the traffic moving.

"One of the things that can speed up the process is take out your laptop" advises Pride. She also recommends checking the status of your flight online before heading to the airport and arriving at least two hours before take off.

"TSA also has a few suggestions on its website for packing and Flightwise.com orFlightstats.com is always a good backup when checking flight statuses online.

Despite Wednesday being a big travel day, it's not the busiest.  That distinction is reserved for Sunday.

Thanksgiving Eve Weather:  Windy & Chilly

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