Travelers should expect long lines, road delays this holiday

As the cliché goes, pack your patience if you have Christmas travel plans.

Millions of people are expected to drive, ride or fly out of North Texas hoping for a perfect holiday.

A record number of Texans will choose to travel by car this Christmas. Thanks in large part to a strong economy and record-low gas prices, AAA expects a four percent increase in the number of people traveling this holiday season. The bulk of people will travel Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The statewide gas price average in Texas is $2.02 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel, according to AAA. That price is 15 cents less per gallon compared to this time in 2017.

AAA says the average motorist will travel 50 miles or more to their holiday destination.

“Driving down today, this afternoon, coming back Sunday after church. Going to spend Christmas Eve with my wife, but we're going to be in Victoria for the weekend,” said motorist E.J. Fernandez.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said people traveling from Texas to Louisiana on Interstate 20 should expect major construction delays. The outside lanes of the interstate in both directions near the Texas and Louisiana border will be closed over the holidays.

“Holiday travelers going east into Louisiana from Texas should be aware of this and if possible, find an alternate route. Additionally, this construction zone will cause delays for motorists returning to Texas after the holidays are over,” said Texas Department of Public Safety Staff Lt. Lonny Haschel. 

Construction is ongoing in that area and expected to continue through June.

Many people opted to fly to their holiday destination. At both DFW International Airport and Dallas Love Field, the lines were long at various times during Friday. Some travelers who arrived the recommended two-hours early on Friday morning still had a hard time making it on to their flight on time.

“I told my husband… I said, ‘This is Christmas craziness,’” said Debbie Johnston, who was headed to San Francisco to see her grandkids.

That said, the TSA checkpoint line was moving at a good pace.

AAA predicts a third of Americans will travel this holiday season. About 6.7 million people are expected to go by plane. That’s the highest number in 15 years.