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Holiday travel heavy as usual

Ryan Carter

An orange alert, long lines, waits and fear will not stop April

Sullivan from getting to Arizona this holiday season. She is getting

married Friday.

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“If there are any terrorists on my plane, I will be [ticked],” she

said as she waited for her Southwest Airlines flight to Phoenix

Tuesday in the terminal at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

Sullivan and many travelers took to the skies this week, to and

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from Burbank, despite security concerns.

“That freaked me out a bit,” Sullivan said of the orange alert

issued Sunday by the federal government, warning of a heightened

terrorist threat.

But officials said the warning has not been a cause for any major

travel glitches locally. However, it has been busy.

“It’s a lot busier here [this week],” said Jim Smith, a

Transportation Security Administration screener. “We’ve had lines for

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Southwest Airlines two or three hours long. It’s been that way for

three days.”

Smith said vigilant bag checks are going smoothly but that people

arriving late causes longer line delays.

“So far, it’s a normal Christmas week,” said Mike Post, public

safety director at the airport, adding that Monday was the busiest

travel day. “The baggage and passenger screening is at full intensity

regardless of what level the alert is at.”

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Airline officials said they have seen high volumes of travelers.

The Southwest Airlines ticket counter seemed to be the busiest

Tuesday afternoon, but other carriers said they have been busy too.

“This December’s load factor is the second largest we’ve ever

recorded for the month of December,” said Stephen Roth, spokesman for

United Airlines.

But people were not only leaving the area, many were coming to it

for the holidays.

A few rooms are still vacant at the Hilton Glendale, but that will

change during the week of Jan. 1, said Mike Hirsch, the hotel’s

general manager. Many people are coming for the Rose Bowl and Rose

Parade, he said.


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