CLT Airport will see over 800k passengers during Thanksgiving holiday
Travel for the Thanksgiving Holiday officially kicked off Thursday at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Travel for the Thanksgiving Holiday officially kicked off Thursday at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
The airport is expecting to see about 822,000 passengers make their way through the airport over the next 10 days.
As the airport undergoes construction and a large peak in air travel for Thanksgiving, the airport is asking people to be patient, plan things ahead of time and get to the airport 2-hours before their flight.
Charlotte Douglas is expected to see more than 72,000 passengers each day until Monday after Thanksgiving.
The airport said the volume of passengers is slightly under pre-pandemic levels by 2%, so travel will be nearly back to normal this holiday season.
Jerome Woodard, the airport’s Chief Operations Officer said, “we are expecting very large crowds and what that means is a few different things for passengers coming through the airport, it’s going to mean more people within the ticketing line lobbies, it’s going to be longer lines at the TSA screening checkpoints, it’s going to be waits and longer lines at the ticketing counters and the concession stands as well.”
The airport hired extra staff to work the ticketing counters and the curbside to assist customers traveling, and all TSA lines will be open.
American Airlines tells WBTV that it will operate 7,000 outbound flights from Charlotte over the Thanksgiving holiday travel period. To help with the passenger travel experience, the airlines surpassed pre-pandemic levels of staff in Charlotte with over 13,000 team members working at the airport.
“We are prepared for the busy holiday season across our network, our staffing levels are at pre-pandemic levels and beyond, and with the investments that we’ve made, with the health of our fleet and staffing levels, we’re confident that we’re ready for the holidays,” said Russ Fortson, the Managing Director of CLT Customer Care for America Airlines.
As things pick up at the airport over the next few days, airport leaders are asking passengers to download their mobile app to help navigate security checkpoints and parking at the airport.
Jack Christine, the airport’s Chief Infrastructure Officer said, “give some thought as to how you’re going to come to the airport, both from a parking perspective, from a travel perspective from the parking lots into the terminal, there are yes a lot of changes that you’ll see if you haven’t been here over the last 6 to 8 months, but they’re positive changes, we have more space right now than we’ve had in quite a long time.”
AAA predicts 55 million Americans will travel this Thanksgiving, slightly below pre-pandemic levels.
Passengers tell WBTV there’s a big difference in travel this year, some are worried about the chaos seen this past summer and others trying to navigate higher airfare.
WBTV talked to one traveler who is traveling to Europe a week before Thanksgiving to enjoy the holiday and get ahead of the large crowds expected at the airport in the coming days.
“Flights are higher than they were in past years, we just planned ahead for our trip, we had been looking at this since maybe August or September, so I think that helped,” said Beth Stolarick of Charlotte.
If you haven’t booked your airfare yet, travel experts say it may be best to drive. If you plan to drive, it’s best to get on the road before Wednesday and wait to return the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
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