Charlotte airport expects large crowds during holiday travel

The airport is encouraging travelers to plan ahead and arrive early

Holiday travel at the airport

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Douglas International Airport is anticipating near-capacity flights during the busiest time of the year as holiday travel begins. Almost 32,000 passengers are expected to start their holiday travel with a flight out of Charlotte on Wednesday. That is about 9,000 more than a typical day. There will also be an additional 100,000 passengers connecting through the airport.

The airport expects Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday and Monday after the holiday to be among the busiest days. To ensure a smooth traveling experience, the airport encourages passengers to plan ahead and arrive early.

Due to the increase of travel, parking will be in high demand Tuesday through Sunday and is available on a first come, first served basis. The airport says long-term parking typically reaches capacity first. Passengers can visit to view real-time parking conditions.

“It took me about 15-20 min to find a spot,” traveler Lily Petitpriem said. “I had to go in daily parking instead of long term.”

Passengers can also park in the Business Valet Deck where shuttles will be used to transport people to and from the terminal’s upper level curbside. Parking is $14 a day and includes complimentary luggage assistance.

The airlines encourages drivers to use the hourly deck for picking up and dropping off passengers to help alleviate traffic on the curbside. The first hour will be free.

Drivers can also use the 150-space cell phone parking lot while waiting on passengers. The lot can be entered off of Josh Birmingham Parkway.

To accommodate high passenger volumes, the airport says they plan to add more personnel for airport shuttle buses and parking operations, increase airport staff at ticketing stations and additional traffic officers on the upper and lower levels of ticketing and baggage claim.

Wait times at the TSA security lines seemed to vary throughout the morning. Petitpriem who spent time on locating a parking space was worried about making her flight.

“I’m a little nervous because my flight is boarding in 15 minutes," Petitpriem said.

Passengers should also consider carpooling or catching a ride to the terminal including a taxi, ride-share or another form of transportation. Passengers can also ride the CATS Sprinter bus.

TSA Security Checkpoints will open at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday.

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