More Than 8 Million Texans Traveling This Holiday: AAA

A record number of Texans are expected to travel this holiday season, according to AAA Texas.

AAA predicts 8.3 million Texans will travel during the 12-day period beginning Wednesday, and most of them – 7.6 million – will travel by car.

AAA's Emergency Roadside Service Dispatch Center in Coppell, which opened in early 2015, expects to help 40,000 drivers throughout Texas this holiday season.

"These dispatchers are working 24/7, taking calls and then dispatching our independent service providers to get to those drivers as quickly as possible," said Doug Shupe, with AAA Texas.

The biggest problems they hear about from drivers are flat tires, dead batteries and being locked out of their cars. Armada's Towing Service in Arlington is expecting to handle more than 300 calls a day from AAA Texas, and each driver there will be working 12-hour shifts every day.

"Yeah, be on call, ready to go whenever it comes time to it, but hopefully, we don't have too much of that going on," said tow truck driver Fernando Ramirez.

However, the warm weather will help compared to last year, when ice covered many North Texas roads.

BY AIR

Southwest Airlines officials said passengers should arrive at least two hours before their flights because of the large number of people traveling out of Dallas Love Field Wednesday.

By 6 a.m. Wednesday, Southwest workers added extra gates to accommodate for long lines of people waiting to check their bags.

A handful of flights headed to the East Coast were delayed due to weather.

"We rush, rush, rush. We get here and we're two hours delayed," said Fernando Coronando, who is traveling to New York City with his wife and three children. "It was a little more crowded than we thought. Being Dec. 23, I guess it makes sense, but not until you get here."

Airport officials recommended not wrapping gifts, as the Transportation Security Administration will have to unwrap them before flights. Southwest Airlines and the Container Store will wrap gifts free for airline passengers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday.

New electronic parking boards will help drivers find open spaces in the parking garage. Airport officials recommend getting a ride or parking at the Love Connection on Mockingbird Lane to avoid packed parking in the garage.

NBC 5's Ellen Bryan and Chris Jose contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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