HARRISON, N.Y. - Eugene Kline sat patiently as he waited to board his plane to Maryland so he can spend Thanksgiving with his son. As he read a newspaper, he noted a more lax airport than what he's seen in the past.
"It hasn't been too busy so far," Kline said, who travels periodically for family functions with a son in Maryland and other relatives in Arizona. "I've seen much worse here on previous trips."
And the numbers support Kline's observations. County Airport Manager Steve Ferguson said the one of the busiest travel days of the year saw a slight decline in commuters this year.
According to Ferguson, the airport serviced close to 20 percent above average capacity Wednesday as opposed to over 30 percent above average brought in last year. Average capacity, Ferguson said, means that all flights are close to three-quarters full.
"We're still having the normal 53 flights a day, but it's not as busy as expected," Ferguson said. "We're a little bit off last year's numbers, which saw pretty much 100 percent capacity on almost all the flights the Wednesday before Thanksgiving."
Though he wasn't sure exactly why the airport saw a dip in its traveler numbers from last year, Ferguson said the rising cost of airline tickets might have been a factor.
"We're in a bad economic situation right now and it's finally hitting the Westchester and Fairfield area," Ferguson said. "We're just like the rest of the country feeling the pinch."
But nonetheless, Kline said he enjoyed the simplicity of boarding a flight on a not-as-busy pre-Thanksgiving flight. "This is nothing like I've seen before," Kline said. "It's somewhat of a relief."