D.C. area Thanksgiving travel likely busiest Wednesday

The Maryland welcome center along I-95 has been a busy place all day long as people have pulled off the interstate for picnic, a hug, to walk the dog or change a diaper.

Kevin Scott his wife and baby are on their way to a big family thanksgiving in Reston. They're from Toms River, New Jersey. Baby Owen will meet his cousins for the first time and the whole family will get a break from Hurricane Sandy clean-up

The Scotts are among nearly 40 million Americans traveling 50 miles or more this week. The parking lot here is jammed with cars from Vermont, New Jersey, North Carolina, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, which is Macarthur Vickers home.

“It was beautiful for us it was great,” Vickers says. “We just came down on our way to Virginia.”

No matter the travel story, most travelers aren’t complaining about gas prices, which are down a little at least and at the other end of the trip they're looking forward to time away with family.

But air travel is a different story.

A Jet Blue plane had just settled into the gate at BWI and the 84 passengers on board were starting to leave when a small fire was spotted in the tailpipe. Everyone got off and firefighters quickly put out the blaze.

The incident threw an already busy BWI on the day before Thanksgiving into a somewhat chaotic state. As passengers scrambled to get off the Jet Blue flight, others waiting at the gate to board the same plane were told their plans to go to Boston would have to be put hold on.

“The next plane is 5:10 and they couldn't guarantee we could get on that flight so they booked us through Reagan,” says John Palmer.

Irene Lagan chose not to find another flight out of Reagan National and decided to cancel her plans to spend the holiday with family in Boston.

“I wouldn't want this to be my last thanksgiving so I'm just going to stay,” Lagan says.

Meantime, at Reagan National, people flying out Wednesday afternoon were wondering where the crowds were.

But the real crowds Wednesday afternoon were at Union Station, where there were packed trains and long, long lines of people waiting to board. At least 135,000 are expected to travel out of D.C. by train Wednesday.