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Holiday not a problem at airport, on highways

For many travelers, the post-Thanksgiving rush was less stressful than they expected.

© St. Petersburg Times
published December 2, 2002

Most passengers flying in and out of Tampa International Airport on Sunday said they expected post-Thanksgiving travel to be tedious. But that wasn't the case.

Mickey Kerr, who was waiting to fly home to Belmont, Texas, said that for years he's avoided traveling on Thanksgiving because of the crowds.

"But after this year, I'll fly again," he said. "Everything has been smooth."

Smoother than the highways, where the stream of cars along Interstate 75 and Interstate 4 resembled a weekday afternoon more than a Sunday afternoon. But despite a smattering of accidents, the Florida Highway Patrol wasn't reporting any major tieups.

At TIA, security was on everyone's mind.

St. Petersburg resident Ilia Perdomo flew to Buffalo, N.Y., for the holiday and said leaving TIA on Wednesday and returning home Sunday was an experience that increased her confidence in security.

"There were a lot of crowds, but I was impressed because Tampa was so organized," Perdomo said. "These new security checks should have been done a long time ago. If I had to travel again at Christmas, I would."

At least one passenger, said short lines weren't necessarily a good thing.

While waiting to return to New York City on Sunday, Lisa Linder said the security checkpoints seemed a little too easy.

"I went to the Bahamas last year at this time, and they made you do a dance to make sure you weren't carrying any weapons," she said. "Nothing like that this time. I personally don't have anything to hide, and I don't care if they hold me up another hour just to make sure everything is safe."

-- Times staff writer Matthew Waite contributed to this report.

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