Tales of winter travel shared at PDX

Airport relatively calm as Thanksgiving weekend comes to a close on Sunday

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor



Portland International Airport

Busiest holiday days: Nov. 27 and Dec. 1, 2, 19, 20, 22 and 27.

Travelers expected to use the airport during the Thanksgiving week: 298,000.

Busiest holiday travel period at PDX: Dec. 18-Jan. 2.

Passengers expected during that busiest holiday travel period: 689,000.

Total passengers expected in 2013: Approximately 15 million, breaking the all-time record of 14.7 million set in 2007.

Updates on weather, parking, other airport conditions: pdx.com

PORTLAND — The intrepid had tales of travel Sunday afternoon at Portland International Airport as the holiday weekend wound down.

But it seemed calm at 2:45 p.m. on what generally is one of the busiest days of the year.

Lily Doyle, 21, of Whidbey Island was snuggling on a circular couch with Conor Colahan, 23, as she waited for a flight to Newark, N.J. She is a senior at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. She said her flight out was fine but Amtrak has been more of an adventure. The college is about 90 minutes north of New York City.

"Penn Station was insane," she said of her trip out Wednesday. "I've never seen so many people in my life."

On Sunday, she was worried about that train ride back to Vassar.

"The Amtrak now from Albany to New York is closed," she said. A commuter train derailment Sunday killed four near New York City.

She and Conor met as counselors at a summer camp on Johns Island in the San Juan Islands. He is a Linfield College grad and now a drug and alcohol counselor living in Burns, Ore. So theirs is a long-distance romance.

Asked about this week's travels, Doyle said, "Pretty smooth, actually, considering the East Coast weather and the craziness of the holidays."

Nearby, five members of the Falcon family were excited and eager as they waited for their dad, Ruben Falcon of Salem.

As he appeared, they enveloped him in a hug.

"He's special," daughter Karen Falcon, 14, said of her dad.

Ruben Falcon was returning from a trip to Tijuana, Mexico.

His tale?

"It took me 61/2 hours to cross the border (in a rented car)," he said. "Then, they cancelled my plane (in San Diego) and they drove us to L.A."

Travel behind him, he smiled broadly as he left with his family.

Michael Neal of Springville, Utah, came west to care for his ailing father in Lebanon, Ore. His family joined him a week ago.

On Sunday, his wife Dawn, 39, and children Alexa, 9; Ashton, 6; and Avery, 4, wielded their suitcases like veterans as they headed for a flight back to Utah. The kids have to be in school, Michael said.

Meanwhile, he's staying to make arrangements: His father died Saturday.

There will be more family tales told at the airport as 2013 races to its end. The big travel days start on Dec. 18.