Home for the holidays: Countless travelers fly into ILM to be with family

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — More than 109 million people expected to travel this Christmas. Locally, countless people are making their way through Wilmington International Airport.

After flying since 10 o’clock Wednesday night, the Fidler family is happy to be on the ground.

“We’re tired. Ready for a coffee,” Sabrina Fidler admitted.

Her son is in the Marines at Camp Lejeune. Though he doesn’t get much down time, he was able to take Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off. Fidler said it’s been months since she’s seen her son.

Fidler: “I’m trying not to cry, sorry.”

Reporter: “You’re ok! Why are you crying?”

Fidler: “I’m just so excited. I can’t believe we’re here. I’m just so excited to see him. He’s the best kid in the world so, we’re just going to have a blast. So I’m happy. It’s happy tears.”

After a short flight from Philly, Maia Kowalchuk and her father reunited for the first time since Mother’s Day.

“I’m more excited than when I got my hole in one yesterday,” said Kowalchuk. “So this is a great week!”

While many flying into ILM haven’t seen family in months, the English family hasn’t seen their aunt and uncle in years.

“We haven’t seen them in ten years,” said Melody English. “A long time, as a family unit.”

Taking red eye flights from California and New York, the English’s gave their aunt, Kristina James, the best Christmas surprise she could ever receive.

“Amazing! Amazed,” James smiled. “I can’t believe it. I’m so happy.”

Working together for months in secrecy, James’ husband, Todd McNamara told James they were picking up a neighbor from the airport to keep it a surprise.

“Oh, that’s much more fun! Santa loves surprises,” McNamara laughed.

After years apart, the family was thrilled to be under the same roof for the holidays.

“So thankful. So grateful,” James said. “We’re all so incredibly blessed,” McNamara continued. “So Merry Christmas to everyone, and happy holidays!”

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