Christmas Travel Rush Begins

Todd Buchanan caried a box around the Gulfport Biloxi Regional Airport.  He wouldn't say what was in it.  "Oh it's a secret."

Buchanan's Christmas secret won't be revealed until after he flies from Gulfport to Atlanta to San Diego. And then he drives from San Diego to Mexico, all on the busiest travel weekend of the year. Buchanan said, "It's always good to go home. You've got the military life. You've got the civilian life. It's nice to take a break from the military."

Gulfport Biloxi Regional Airport had a steady stream of military personnel and families hauling luggage and holiday presents around the airport. For Hattiesburg's Cheryl Scott, to child's house she goes.  Actually "to Atlanta to see my grandbabies," Scott said.  "To have a nice Christmas."

For some weary travelers, Christmas better be great.  Cancelled and delayed flights at airline hubs took some joy out of the holiday experience. Just ask Mae Daniels. Her husband's Thursday trip from Sacramento got stuck in both Salt Lake City and Dallas.  "And then he went to Atlanta. There all the flights were cancelled," Daniels said. "Then he started out this morning and of course they were backed up from all the people that didn't get out last night."

Travel experts estimate that 61 million Americans will either fly or drive to an out-of-town holiday celebration. One of those drivers was Kay Rogers. As the Lake Charles, Louisiana woman drove along I-10 she got a holiday surprise.  "The construction all the way back to Lake Charles is, there is none," Rogers proclaimed, "which is wonderful."

The highway patrol's goal this weekend is to make sure everybody gets where they're going safely. That's why the extra troopers will monitor state highways. Last Christmas, five people died in accidents on Mississippi roads.