SAN FRANCISCO - It was pretty smooth sailing at San Francisco International Airport early Wednesday morning, as passengers lined up to fly out of the Bay Area and visit friends and family far away from home.
Before 6 a.m., there were no significant delays or cancelations, which were prevalent on Tuesday across the country because of poor visibility in San Francisco and cold weather on the East Coast.
Terminal 2 at SFO was the busiest, but most passengers reported that lines were moving efficiently through the airport.
By 8 a.m., when the rain started coming down harder, there were more delays reported.
The AAA auto club predicts that 54.3 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home between Wednesday and Sunday, the highest number since 2005 and about a 5 percent increase over last year.
Looking at a longer, 12-day period, the airline industry trade group Airlines for America predicts that a record 30.6 million people will fly on U.S. carriers, up from 29 million last year. That's more than 2.5 million per day.
The airline group expects that Wednesday will be the second busiest day of the holiday period behind only Sunday, when many travelers will be returning home.
Travelers should prepare for long lines at airport checkpoints. The Transportation Security Administration expected to screen about 25 million people between Monday and next Monday, an increase of 5 percent over last year.
TSA says the holiday rush really started last Friday -- similar to last year but earlier than in previous years. The Sunday following Thanksgiving is expected to be one of TSA's 10 busiest days ever.
Not everyone will fly this holiday. AAA says 48 million will drive and 4.7 million will fly. For those driving, one survey shows at the peak travel time, it will take four times as long as normal to get around Bay Area freeways. And AAA reports the worst time to try driving in the Bay Area is Wednesday between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Associated Press contributed to this report.