Long lines, heavy traffic expected at Charlotte airport day before Thanksgiving

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The busiest travel day of the Thanksgiving holiday is underway Wednesday. Officials with the Charlotte Douglas International Airport said the busiest day of the week is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday following the holiday.

Airport officials said in addition to the 100,000 people who pass through the Charlotte Douglas daily, they are projecting over 30,000 more passengers to be at the airport on Wednesday.

It's expected to be one of the busiest weeks of the year at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Thousands of people will be traveling through the airport for the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Monday and Tuesday, the airport served over 50,000 additional passengers.

Airport officials are projecting over 31,000 additional passengers to pass through Charlotte Douglas on Sunday.

On Wednesday, the airport's Twitter account posted that traffic was starting to pick up on the roads and the Ticketing Lobby was full. Airport officials were asking people to arrive to Charlotte Douglas early.

Long Term 1 and Long Term 2 parking lots were full as of 9 a.m. Wednesday morning, airport officials tweeted.

Travelers often hear arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance, but James Muhammad has a different sense of time.

" Four hours." He said."Yes sir, because it's my day off and I'm gonna act like it. I'm gonna be here early, because I'm not gonna miss my flight far as being late."

The online phenomenon known as Uber and its competitor Lyft are creating issues of supply, demand, and higher holiday fares.

Tony Powell was part of the curb side rush.

"Most reports said it was going to be a busy travel day, so I wasn't surprised," Powell said.

If the day before Thanksgiving can be considered as round one, then expect Sunday to be a day when travelers go the distance literally and figuratively.

That's when Lisa Jones will be heading home to Denver.

"We're gluttons for punishment. Sunday is always a rough day after Thanksgiving. I know it. Pray for us," she said.

Prayers may be on the mind and in the heart of James Muhammad, because his will be a holiday travel story to remember.

"This is my first time flying in 30 years. I knew what to expect like a Boy Scout," Muhammad said.

There are a few changes at the airport this year that travelers should be aware of. The airport has added 1,700 parking spaces. You can visit the airport's parking map before you arrive at Charlotte Douglas to help you plan for parking. If you are picking up or dropping off friends and family members, you are encouraged to use the Hourly Deck.

Officials say they have also relocated the free Cell Phone Lot to give drivers direct access to the terminal which is located off of Josh Birmingham Parkway.

The airport is also continuing renovations so travelers may notice construction in certain areas of the terminals.

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