Chicagoans looking to beat holiday travel rush fly out of O’Hare early – NBC Chicago

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The holiday travel season is back with just days until Christmas, and some people traveling are heading out of town early to try to avoid possible cancellations or delays at O’Hare International Airport.

“I try to leave as early as I can in the season and hope that nothing bad happens,” said Christabel Donkor flying to San Diego.

But for one family of nine they’re already running into some problems.

“Our tickets, they didn’t show up in United Airlines’ system, so we ended up missing our 6AM flight,” said Alianna Lim, who is flying to the Philippines.

Lim’s family loading up their boxes and luggage to a hotel for the night and said they’re flying out tomorrow.

“This has never happened for one of our Philippines trips, this is definitely a first for me,” she said.

While she doesn’t think its part of a bigger problem, the Southwest meltdown last year has passengers fearing the worst. The airline has been fined $140 million dollars by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“The investigation is now complete and yesterday we announced Southwest will pay $35 million dollars in direct cash penalties as part of $140 million dollar total penalty, which is by far the largest this department ordered,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

If you’re driving this year, AAA said expect to pay about the same or less for gas. The national average on Christmas Day last year was $3.10. The national average as of today $3.08.

“You prepare for the worst and hope for the best that’s all I can say about traveling,” Mohammed Suifan said.

TSA is reminding passengers to pack smart, get to the airport early, and leave Christmas gifts unwrapped so they could be inspected quickly.

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