"Prepare for a travel nightmare if you're getting on a plane to go see your family for Thanksgiving," Juan Williams said last week on "The O'Reilly Factor." Many predicted that the new TSA screening procedures, and protests over them, would make getting home for the holidays even more hellacious than usual this year. But according to most reports, Thanksgiving air travel was "smooth," despite predictions that it would be anything but. Were the predictions overblown? (Watch a CBS report about Thanksgiving day travel)
Yes, it was overhyped by the media: The Thanksgiving "travel nightmare" was just media hype, says Bill Press at The MetroWest Daily News. "Never was so much made of so little." Despite projections of long delays and reports of enraged, violated travelers, and airport uprisings, "most passengers complied with new rules," and security was quick and efficient, thanks to the well-trained TSA agents.
"Press: The travel nightmare that wasn't"
There were no major flight delays: "Air travel over the Thanksgiving holiday flowed relatively smoothly, with weather playing a bigger role in delays than protesters boycotting airport scanners," says Susan Carey in The Wall Street Journal. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there were no travel delays at major airports, despite winter storms in some parts of the country. And planned boycotts of TSA full-body scans, dubbed Opt-Out day, "fizzled out" and didn't cause any significant delays.
"Air travel flows smoothly as scanner protest fizzles"
The point of the protests was never to cause huge delays: "National Opt-Out day was a rousing success" reads a statement on the Opt-Out website. It didn't fizzle out but rather promoted awareness without creating travel hell, which was never its aim. It was the media that "wanted the chaos at the airports, they wanted long lines and beyond-frustrated travelers because it would make a good story."
"THANK YOU for making National Opt-Out Day a success!"
Road travel was worse than air travel: While there were few delays for air travelers, and no "significant delays" related to the new security screening procedures, there were delays for those traveling by car, says Ron Scherer in The Christian Science Monitor. But that might have been expected, since, according to the AAA, 39.7 million hit the road for the holiday, a 12 percent increase over last year. While there was heavy traffic for drivers in the New York area and elsewhere, for "many travelers… it could have been worse."
"For grateful Thanksgiving travelers, a happy refrain: It could have been worse"