| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Nov 23 U.S. airports are trotting out
friendly companion dogs to calm jittery travelers and offering
perks including free parking on Wednesday as throngs of people
rush toward their Thanksgiving holiday celebrations.
Up to 2.8 million people per day, about 600,000 more than
average, are expected to fly in the United States over the
coming six days, making it a busy period for travel, according
to the trade group Airlines for America.
Airports won't be the only crowded places as some 48.7
million people, the most since 2007, are expected to travel 50
miles (80 km) or farther for the holiday, according to motor
club AAA. It said the 1.9 percent increase from last year's
level reflected an improving economy and low gasoline prices.
To relieve passengers' anxiety, airports in cities including
Chicago and Memphis, Tennessee, are deploying therapy dogs to
wander terminals with their owners and make new friends.
At Chicago's Midway and O'Hare International Airports, the
dogs in service this week include a Jack Russell Terrier mix and
a German Shepherd mix provided by a local charitable group,
Canine Therapy Corps.
"Just the entertainment of a dog distracting your attention
for a least a little while helps to improve your experience at
the airport," said Ann Davidson, the group's operations manager.
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport said it was giving
up to seven days of free parking to the first 1,000 cars that
entered through specially marked lanes starting on Wednesday
The New York City area's three busiest airports were
somewhat less generous, offering reduced rates for a limited
time for parking at John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark
Weather could complicate travel in several regions.
Lingering show showers were expected in upstate New York. Heavy
rain was forecast from central California north to Washington
state, and severe storms were possible across the southern and
central Plains, the National Weather Service said.
Potentially shortening lines for some air travelers, the
Transportation Security Administration and United Airlines said
on Tuesday they deployed new, more efficient security screening
lanes at Newark's Liberty International Airport that could
reduce wait time by 30 percent.
Similar lanes opened this month at Chicago O'Hare and Los
Angeles International Airport.
Amtrak said it had added extra trains and seats to
accommodate rail passengers along some of its busiest lines,
including along the East Coast, in southern California and the
(Reporting by David Ingram in New York; Additional reporting by
Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by Scott Malone and