Short lines for airport travelers in Denver |

Short lines for airport travelers in Denver

DENVER, Colorado ” Holiday travelers found short lines and brief waits at Denver International Airport early Wednesday as airlines ramped up for the pre-Thanksgiving rush.

Airport officials expect about 20,000 fewer travelers this week than last year because of the worsening economy, but the hardy fliers who caught early flights from Denver were undeterred.

“We weren’t too concerned about that,” said Richard Mohl, 62, of Colorado Springs, who was heading to Washington with his wife and two grown children. “We knew we had to do it. It’s kind of important.”

Sheila and John Victoria, also from Colorado Springs, were headed to see family in Houston, feeling secure in their situation.

“We have jobs that are recession-free,” said Sheila Victoria, 45. She’s a special education teacher and he works for the federal government at a hydropower plant.

Holiday travel across 11 Western states is expected to decline by 2.3 percent from last year, said Wave Dreher of AAA Colorado. That includes a 2.9 percent drop in auto travel and a 5.5 percent drop in air travel.

Cheaper gas prices help, but people are still weighed down by economic uncertainty, she said.

“You get pulled between your heartstrings and your purse strings,” she said. “More so than any other holiday, travelers tell us they want to be with their family.”

AAA’s Western region includes Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The figures are based on people who say they plan on traveling more than 50 miles.

Denver airport spokesman Chuck Cannon said Wednesday was expected to be the busiest day of the week with about 146,000 travelers.

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