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Cheap Gas Fuels Thanksgiving Travel    11/25 06:29

   LOS ANGELES (AP) -- An expanded version of America's annual Thanksgiving 
travel saga has begun with gas prices low and terrorism fears high.

   An estimated 46.9 million Americans are expected to take a car, plane, bus 
or train at least 50 miles from home over the long holiday weekend, according 
to the motoring organization AAA. That would be an increase of more than 
300,000 people over last year, and the most travelers since 2007.

   Among the reasons given for the increase: an improving economy and the 
cheapest gasoline for this time of year since 2008.

   On Tuesday, some travelers were gearing up for an early exit.

   Fanni Farago, 26, of Tempe, Arizona, sat in the Albuquerque airport with her 
sister Flora Farago, 30, while waiting for their parents to arrive from Dallas. 
The family was planning on driving to the mountain resort of Red River, New 
Mexico to revive a family Thanksgiving tradition.

   "My parents warned us about the travel warning so we decide to get started 
early," Fanni Farago. "And since it's so cheap to drive, we are going to rent a 
car to go up to Red River."

   Anyone trekking to a major airport should factor in 50 extra minutes on the 
road, according to the traffic date company INRIX --- and that's just getting 
to the airport, never mind getting through security.

   Though there have been no changes to the nation's terror alert status, the 
recent attacks in Paris, West Africa and elsewhere prompted the State 
Department to warn American travelers about the risks overseas.

   On Tuesday, the head of the Transportation Security Administration, Peter 
Neffenger, boasted that the U.S. has the world's best aviation security and 
assured the public that TSA is "taking every measure to protect the millions of 
air travelers in the coming weeks."

   At the Phoenix airport, Teri Robert said the notion of flying from Arizona 
to West Virginia to see family gave her pause, but in the end she decided she 
had to go.

   "I'm not going to let the terror alerts and things stop me, because then 
they win," she said.

   Airfares have increased just 69 cents on average since last year, according 
to the Airlines Reporting Corp., which processes ticket transactions for 
airlines and travel agencies.


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