- The Washington Times - Monday, November 29, 2004

Thanksgiving travelers going and coming kept area train stations and airports busy yesterday.

“We could get 35,000 through here today,” said Deak Childress, deputy assistant administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. He was voluntarily working to help airline passengers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

“People have been very cooperative,” said Mr. Childress, referring to security-check stations where some travelers had to take off their shoes and remove articles from their bags. He talked as he helped passengers shove overloaded suitcases into line.

The story was the same at the District’s Union Station where Josh Randall, a line monitor, was helping passengers prepare photograph identifications and go to the correct ticket stations for Amtrak trains.

“The day before Thanksgiving was the worst,” said Mr. Randall of the rush of passengers in a hurry to get to destinations in time to be thankful for Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Waiting outside Union Station was one traveler who was having a minor difficulty. Kelli Marimpietri, 22, was returning to speech-pathology studies at Gallaudet College from Cleveland, where she had joined her family for Thanksgiving.

The trip out had been on time. The flight back on Southwest Airlines to Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) was on time, and the taxi ride to Union Station was uninterrupted. But now, in front of Union Station, she and other students had waited 20 minutes for the bus ride to campus.

People traveling through BWI said they experienced very few delays on the trek homeward. Even security checkpoints seemed to process people quickly.

“The most we had to do here is take our shoes off — our watches were fine, and our belts were fine,” said Pam Mcleod who was traveling with her daughter, Jordon, 3, and husband, Mark. “I go the courthouse [in St. Mary’s County, Md.] and my belt will pick up. But here? No problem.”

Traffic through the airport also was lighter than some expected. Baltimore-area resident Mary Ann Farley and her husband, Michael, flew from St. Louis to Baltimore yesterday and were pleasantly surprised by the lack of crowds.

“It’s not the crowd we expected,” Mrs. Farley said. “It was much busier in St. Louis than it is here.”

There was speculation that snowfall in the Midwest and Northwest might delay flights across the nation, but that turned out to be false prophecy.

Kimberly Worcester, 21, and her Northwest Airlines seat partner, Libby Child, 55, had thought that 11 inches of snow in Grand Rapids, Mich., the day before Thanksgiving might affect their flight to Washington.

“Then, it rained for two days afterwards. The plane wasn’t too full at all,” said Ms. Child, who flies into Washington on business twice a month.

About 1 inches of snow fell in Kansas City, Kansas, said Charles and Nina Cullen, of McLean, who go west every other year to spend Thanksgiving with family.

“Everything went very well” both going and coming, said Mr. Cullen, who will host the family get-together next Thanksgiving.

It was Washington’s rainy weather in between travels that bothered Catherine Kanarski, and her daughter, Suzanne, 33, of Abington, Mass. The rain hampered their shopping expectations.

Arriving schedules at Reagan Airport indicated that flights were on time from areas where snow might have interfered.

Departure and arrival times were a certainty at Union Station. It was the duration of travel that was most in consideration. The trip to Sebring, Fla., on Nov. 21 took 24 hours for the seven members of Margaret Manzil’s family. The day—long trip was the same upon return at about 3 p.m. yesterday.

“It was the first time we have gone by train,” said Mrs. Manzil, accompanied by her husband, two daughters, her sister, Theresa Majia, and her son and daughter.

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