Navigating around the airport during the DNC

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -  A group of alumni and friends of Appalachian State University is headed to Portugal and Spain in a couple of weeks.

"It's mostly people who are retired or are approaching retirement who have time to travel and connect with other people while on this trip," said Director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving, Patrick Setzer.

The only hiccup is that they are traveling right in the middle of the first week of September, when the Democratic National Convention comes to town.

"I'm hoping you can be on our side and answer some of the questions that come with traveling during the DNC to take some of the anxiety out of it," Setzer asked WBTV during a Skype interview.

They are some of the same questions that anyone trying to take a business trip or vacation, during a time when thousands of delegates and media are coming to town, might also have.  We took his questions to the airport director, Jerry Orr, and his answers follow:

Security:  Lines will be a little longer but that also depends when people are flying out.  Before Thursday, there shouldn't be any issues outside of the norm.  However, everyone involved in the DNC will be leaving Friday and through the weekend so it will get busier then.

Parking:  There should be plenty of parking spaces.  In fact, Orr suspects parking may be a little easier because most of the people coming into town for the DNC will not have their own cars.  They'll rely on public transportation.

Air traffic:  Air traffic doesn't stop, it only slows down, according to Orr.  He says anyone worried about missing a connecting flight because of a slow-down in air traffic due to arriving dignitaries should not be worried.  Orr says that kind of thing is out of a passengers control though the airport is certain it will get passengers where they need to go and at the right times.

Traffic around the airport:  Starting the Sunday before the convention activities begin, as DNC travelers start to arrive in town, new signs will go up on airport property.  They will alert passengers to changing traffic patterns and Orr says it's important that regular travelers follow those signs and don't try to take their normal routes.

Time saving tips:  If you're worried, give yourself extra time to arrive and get settled before your flight, Orr says.  He also suggests travelers print their boarding passes before they leave the house so the passes are ready to go at the airport.

Bottom line, Orr says treat traveling by air during the DNC as if it were a trip during a holiday.  Remember that most out-of-towners will be trying to leave between Friday and Sunday, September 7-9, and that will mean a very full airport those days.

"I'm not worried.  We've done our best to put a plan together.  We've got plenty of people and done all we can to address what will happen.  It will either work great or not as great," Orr said.

Copyright 2012 WBTV. All rights reserved.