KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Thanksgiving travel season was in full swing on Wednesday as plenty of special arrivals and greetings took place at Kansas City International Airport.
This year, KCI expects to see around 430,000 people travel through the airport for the holiday.
On Wednesday, airman Scott Cruz was one of the many people waiting at the airport for a family member to arrive.
“I’m getting ready to deploy here in about two months and my daughter lives up in Washington,” he said. “This is pretty much my last holiday with her before I take off.”
Cruz navigated through crowds at KCI to find his daughter waiting outside.
A big hug followed with the father knowing this year’s holiday would be special.
“This isn’t the first holiday season I’ll have missed,” he said. “Everyone I get is special.”
A few gates down, Paula Williams arrived with a group from Liberty to surprise her friend returning home after a trip to Florida.
The group all held signs outside the arrival door to surprise the woman for her 50th birthday.
“We’re just excited to have her here,” Paula said. “We’re all spending Thanksgiving together so we’re going to start celebrating tonight for her 50th.”
A short while later, Shanna and Matt Haun got set to welcome home their daughter from Mississippi.
For the two parents, Thanksgiving weekend marked the first time they would see her in six months.
“My heart is palpitating. I can’t wait,” the mother said. “It’s huge. This is her first job outside college. We haven’t seen each other in a long time.”
Much like Paula Williams and her group, the Haun family erupted in cheers and hugged their loved ones when they arrived.
Moving forward, KCI expects to be very busy for Thanksgiving weekend.
Around the country, travel experts estimate that over 30 million people will fly over the next few days.
Sunday will mark the busiest travel day of the year.