(NEWSnet/AP) – The patience of Memorial Day weekend travelers was tested Thursday by widespread flight delays; but there were relatively few cancelations, raising hopes that airlines can handle Friday's crowds.

More than 6,000 flights were listed as delayed Thursday, with the biggest backups at the three major airports in the New York City area and Dallas-Fort Worth International.

The Transportation Security Administration predicted that Friday will be the busiest day for air travel over the holiday weekend, with nearly 3 million people expected to pass through airport checkpoints. It could rival the record of 2.9 million, set on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year.

“Airports are going to be more packed than we have seen in 20 years,” said Aixa Diaz, a spokesperson for AAA.


When they aren’t waiting out flight delays, travelers are reporting sticker shock at the prices.

At Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Larisa Latimer of New Lenox, Illinois, said her airfare was reasonable but other expenses for a getaway to New Orleans were not.

“I just have to make the accommodation,” she said. “The rental car is up ... this year, the hotel accommodations were very unusually expensive.”

Kathy Larko of Fort Meyers, Florida, used frequent-flyer miles — and some flexible scheduling — to pay for her trip to Chicago.

“I’m really conscious of looking at the cost of the entire trip. We’re staying a little farther out than we normally would” to get a lower hotel rate, she said. “We’re also flying back a day later, because we could get cheaper miles.”

More travelers also will be on the highways. AAA estimates that 43.8 million people will venture at least 50 miles from home between Thursday and Monday, with 38 million of them taking vehicles.

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