CHARLOTTE, N.C. (LaVendrick Smith | The Charlotte Observer) - You should be prepared for crowds and limited parking if you're traveling through Charlotte's airport during Thanksgiving, as officials warn the airport will be busy.
A 3 percent increase in travelers from last year's holiday season is anticipated for Charlotte Douglas International Airport in the days leading up to and following the holiday. That adds up to about 30,000 to 32,000 local travelers at the airport on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. (The airport typically has 25,000 to 26,000 passengers each day.)
The number of travelers will be comparable to summer months, when the airport averaged about 31,000 passengers on peak days. However, officials anticipate more families that don't normally travel during the year, according to Jack Christine, chief operating officer at Charlotte Douglas.
"We have travelers that aren't as used to the process," Christine said.
To prepare, Christine advises people to arrive at the airport well in advance of their flights. Travelers should show up at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours ahead for international flights, he said.
People should also prepare for limited parking, with the increase of travelers. You can check available parking on the airport's website at www.cltairport.com.
But he also encouraged people to use other transportation to the airport if possible, including shuttles, taxis and ride-sharing apps.
Even with the additional traffic, airport officials hope wait times at security checkpoints won't be longer than 30 minutes. The Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday and Monday after the holiday are predicted to be the peak days of travel, officials said.
To better help you prepare, here are a few tips to keep in mind: