Holiday travelers find busy airports
Rain, fog in the East cause flight delays

ATLANTA - Rain and fog in the East caused delays for holiday travelers heading home Monday after the long Thanksgiving weekend and threatened to cause a ripple effect of bottlenecks elsewhere.

Monitors in the terminals at New York's LaGuardia airport showed numerous canceled and delayed flights.

Arrivals there were also delayed up to three hours, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Delays at the metro area's Newark Liberty Airport averaged one hour and 37 minutes, but New York's Kennedy International was not affected, Coleman said.

'I thought this would be an easier travel day,' 12-year-old Maria Burgos said at LaGuardia, where she was waiting for a flight home to Miami after spending the holiday with relatives.

Arrival delays at Philadelphia International Airport averaged just over an hour and threatened to worsen during the day, airport spokeswoman Phyllis Van Istendal said.

Security line waiting times at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport steadily improved during the morning Monday, but travelers there were expected to face growing problems later because of the weather-caused delays elsewhere, AirTran spokesman Dave Hirschman said.

'The bad news is that the Northeast has really been slammed today,' he said.

Departure delays in the Northeast will mean late arrivals at Hartsfield-Jackson, he said. Travelers arriving in Atlanta may find that their connecting flights have already left, and it will be harder for them to catch later flights since most departing planes are 80 percent full.

'This is an extremely busy flying day, especially in the Northeast,' Hirschman said. 'When they fall behind early, it's nearly impossible to catch up as the day goes on. These delays are going to ripple throughout the network.

'We're delighted to see the rain,' Hirschman said of the drought-stricken Southeast. 'But it sure would have been great if we'd had one more day of drought.'