Growing pains at Charlotte Douglas Airport - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Growing pains at Charlotte Douglas Airport

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

It's been a little while since Carl Brunner has been to Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

"It looks like a different place completely," he said Thursday, driving in to pick up a friend. "I was like, where's the  parking lot I normally go to? I thought I took a different road, I mean - I was completely thrown off because I don't even see the normal parking."

And that's because there's nothing normal about parking at the airport right now. A massive amount of construction has shifted traffic patterns and shuttled shuttle buses ten minutes from their normal route.

"Yes we're asking people to pack patience," said Assistant Aviation Director Herbert Judon. He admitted  that parking is a pain, and that the problem will persist throughout the summer when the airport sees a spike in vacationers. But Judon also told me officials are making changes now to help.

"Beginning tomorrow, one operational change we'll make is for all of the airport shuttle buses, we're going to have them drop off and pick up on the lower level," he said.

That should allow shuttles to move faster. But it's hardly the only complaint.

"Looking for hourly parking, I think we drove around twice," Laurie Voss said as she stood in departures this morning.

"I was in the right lane," added another traveler, Marco Molinal, "and four lanes over I could see Long Term Parking, but I could never make it over there, so I had to do a whole loop around, and we ended up parking in Daily Parking so it's going to cost us a lot more money."

AAA issued a statement today saying travelers could flee to other airports.

"If I can stay away, I will," said Molinal.

"Well we might think of alternative airports," said Voss.

But Judon attributed the problems to growing pains, and said expanding the airport will be good for the city. He also said officials will do all they can to improve matters. "We are constantly assessing the customer experience and we're going to work as hard as we can," he said.

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