PITTSON TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The weather is impacting the busy holiday travel season as AAA predicts one-third of the U.S. population is expected to travel this weekend.

At the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, only one flight headed to Chicago was delayed so far this morning. We spoke to a family who was supposed to be on that plane but ended up cancelling it because their next flight from Chicago to Japan was cancelled. They say they were meeting their distant family there for Christmas and are devastated.

A mother and her daughter waited at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport on Friday, originally with plans to board a connecting flight to Chicago that was delayed, before finding out their entire international trip had been cancelled.

“I was going to reunite with my family in Japan. They’re from New Zealand, they flew in and all the Japan flights just got cancelled so we’re going to have to cancel the whole trip and unfortunately we can’t go anymore,” said Marilee Rist of Clarks Summit.

With the next possible flight to Japan not until Monday, they’re devastated to miss the holidays with their extended family.

“I’m disappointed. I haven’t seen my sister since, like, COVID-19. All of the trip just disappeared,” said Xiaosu Liu of Clarks Summit.

They’re just two of the thousands of passengers experiencing delays or cancelled flights nationwide due to a major winter storm.

According to AAA, this year is the third busiest for the holiday travel season since it began tracking in 2000.

The agency predicts an increase of 14% from 2021, with nearly 7.2 million Americans expected to fly.

AAA says more people plan to hit the road for the holidays, with nearly 102 million people predicted to drive to their destination.

“That’s a 3.6 million increase over last year despite gas prices increases this year as well,” stated Nina Waskevich, vice president of brand & membership of AAA North Penn.

Waskevich says due to people’s flexible travel plans, and the winter weather, they’re urging drivers to be prepared for traffic and slick road conditions.

“You might be in a rush to get somewhere, but if you get in an accident you’re not getting there any time faster. So just follow the speed limit and the rules of the road,” instructed Waskevich.

AAA says the best time to hit the road on Friday is before 2:00 p.m. Or after 8:00 p.m.

For anyone who may be catching a flight, make sure to check if the plane is on time before heading to the airport.