CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicagoans hit the road and lined up at the airport for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

It’s one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. AAA expects 2.6 million Illinoisans to head out of town this weekend.

At O’Hare Airport, travelers from across the country flooded in.

“We were trying to beat the holiday rush, but I don’t think we succeeded,” said Mia Gramann and Isabelle Florio who were flying to Nashville.

Jim Prothro is making the trip from Chicago to Shreveport, Louisiana, the first time he’s flown in four years.

Fireworks 2022: Full list of 4th of July events, displays across Chicago area.

“Once I do get on the plane I’ll wear a mask, try to social distance,” Prothro said.

City aviation officials expect more than 1.6 million travelers this holiday weekend between O’Hare and Midway.

O’Hare alone is expecting a 17 percent increase in travel compared to this time last year. Midway is expecting a 39% jump.

“I travel with someone who needs a wheelchair,” traveler Pam Zeller said. “They had it ready for us when we were on our way here.”

Zeller was in Chicago for a wedding and is heading back to Fort Myers, Florida.

“It has been absolutely easy and smooth,” she said.

And for those still a bit apprehensive to fly, Dr. Juanita Mora of the Chicago Allergy Center said, “As long as you are safe. You’re vaccinated you’re boosted and you take the precaution of wearing a mask and in the airport and on the flight and obviously and I think it should be a great time because we’re protected now. We’re in a much better place.”

Some people also hit the road Thursday. Highways quickly filled up with bumper to bumper traffic.

AAA is expecting roads to be even worse tomorrow when I-290 West is likely to be among the busiest local highways, especially in the late afternoon.

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