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INDIANAPOLIS —  Airports across the nation are packed as millions of Americans head back home from the holiday.

The Thanksgiving weekend is expected to be one of the busiest the Indianapolis International Airport has ever seen. Airport officials expected 80,000 travelers through the airport for the Thanksgiving weekend. 

With the holiday weekend winding down, the number of people hopping on a plane in Indy is about to ramp up. 

“We’ve heard,” Marcy Muensterman said. “We’ve heard. Which is why we’re here three hours early to get on our plane at 7 p.m.”

Many passengers did everything to avoid pesky delays. 

“I knew to book in advance, booked my rental car in advance,” Charlie Emhardt said. “I’m actually driving from Dallas to Waco instead of flying to Waco, because I was trying to avoid as much time as I could in the airport.”

Some travelers didn’t realize just how busy the holiday weekend would be.

“No we didn’t really,” Dana Brooks said. “I didn’t really think about the craziness, did you? No!” 

“It was really bad coming in,” Muensterman said. “Last week, we had a three-hour delay to get to Indianapolis so we didn’t get here until 11 p.m. instead of 8 p.m.” 

Sunday will be the busiest day, as airport officials expect more than 17,500 travelers to go through Indianapolis International Airport. That’s a 7 percent increase over the same time last year and a 23-percent increase over the average.

“I have a layover in Orlando because I booked today so I could kind of try to beat the really crazy travel time, and it was a little less expensive to come today as opposed to over the weekend,” Michelle Jackson said.

With the potential for delays and long lines, airport officials recommend arriving two hours early or more for your flight. But for those brave enough to beat the crowds on one the busiest weekends in the air, the risk is not always greater than the reward.

“We’ll just keep our smiles and be happy we’re leaving this cold place,” Janet Rincker said.

“Oh, yeah, yeah, it’s time to go home! I miss my puppies,” Jackson said. 

One of the biggest things airport officials asked people to do before flying out is pretty simple: Separate your liquid items from your carry on luggage. Officials said that’s one of the most preventable cause for delays they see.

(Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)