HARTFORD, Conn. -- New Englanders hit the road, flocked to airports and filled bus and train stations Wednesday on their way to Thanksgiving gatherings, with AAA estimating nearly 2 million people in the six states traveling at least 50 miles to see family and friends.
About 1.7 million people in the region were projected to travel by automobile, while 200,000 others were flying to their destinations on the busiest travel day of the year, according to the motor club.
No major transportation problems were reported in the six states. Airport officials say good weather across most of the country was helping to keep flights on time.
Matt Garcia of New York City said his bus trip to see family in Worcester, Mass., turned into somewhat of a nightmare. He said he booked his Greyhound trip online and arrived at New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal at about 6:15 a.m., only to learn that the bus he signed up for didn’t exist.
"We were essentially sold tickets to an imaginary bus," the 22-year-old public relations worker said after taking a bus to Hartford’s Union Station, where he waited for his cousin to pick him up and drive him to his family’s home. "Passengers were screaming."
He got more bad news in a text message from his cousin, who reported being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Mass Pike.
State police agencies in the region put extra patrols on the road, and airport officials urged travelers to arrive early.
The Massachusetts Port Authority, which oversees Logan International Airport in Boston, urged air travelers to arrive a minimum 2 1/2 hours before their flights because of the expected heavy volume. Massport officials anticipated a 1 percent increase over the 868,000 passengers who used Logan during last year’s Thanksgiving travel period.
Passengers who got on a JetBlue flight in Boston got a scare when a small fire broke out in one of the plane’s engines as it was taxiing to the gate at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Firefighters put out the fire at the gate, and no one was hurt.
On Interstate 93 in Boston, a tractor-trailer traveling southbound and pulling a box truck on a flatbed struck the ceiling of the Tip O’Neill Tunnel on Wednesday morning. Officials were checking for potential damage to wires and light fixtures, but state police said the traffic backup was minimal.
AAA expects Sunday to be the second busiest travel day of the year as people head home to get ready for work or school.