The U.S. Airways customer service supervisor at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, who asked to be called Shelia A., said business has risen since an initial drop after Sept. 11. She added that "compared to last year's Thanksgiving weekend we had as many passengers this year or maybe more."
Barbara Matukaitis, the lead counter agent for American Airlines, also said that the airline's passenger loads were heavy this weekend. "We have had as many (people) as last year," she said.
This weekend's travelers not only met larger crowds but also tighter security measures than were seen even in the wake of the terrorist attacks.
Passengers at RDU heard the constant whistle of police officers and saw a scattered number of National Guard troopers standing in full uniform with guns in their arms.
President Bush boosted airport security by requiring more National Guard troopers at airports in time for the holiday.
The holiday weekend's travelers reacted differently to these measures.
"It took me about an hour and a half to get through the security of Nashville," said Tim Morris, a Southwest Airlines passenger flying from Nashville, Tenn. "My bags were checked three times, and everyone seemed a little more quiet in the airplane than before," Morris said.
Another Southwest passenger, Madhu Arya, who traveled from San Diego to RDU, said she had a positive experience with the airline and the overall security in the airports she visited.
Beverly Morris, who was returning to Cincinnati, said she will continue to travel as long as her airline is Delta.