“It was better than expected”: Busy airport travel day ahead of Thanksgiving

Charlotte Douglas is seeing about 72,000 passengers each day during the Thanksgiving holiday
Passengers at CLT Airport the day before Thanksgiving
Passengers at CLT Airport the day before Thanksgiving(Lowell Rose)
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 6:49 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The rush is on to get where you need to be for Thanksgiving with millions of Americans on the road or flying today.

People going through Charlotte Douglas International Airport have seen a busy terminal, but things have not been chaotic.

Since Wednesday morning, there have been waves of busy moments and times it felt like a typical day despite seeing an estimated 72,000 people each day during this period.

Joseph Pargoe tells WBTV he’s “heading to Sarasota just for the holidays.”

Taylor Rothermel added she “came from Minneapolis, Minnesota and I’m traveling to here, to Charlotte.”

Ike Onukogu added, “we’re traveling from Miami and we’re going to Charleston to visit our close friends.”

These are among the hundreds of thousands of people traveling through Charlotte for the holiday.

Despite the travel chaos we saw earlier this year with staffing shortages and canceled flights, travelers tell WBTV Wednesday was a mostly smooth day.

Pargoe said, “It’s pretty easy right now, I thought it would be worse, but it’s going pretty steady.”

Cathy Ogden who arrived early at the airport said, “Fantastic, fantastic, ready to go eat some turkey.”

The biggest hiccup passengers experienced in Charlotte was navigating the airport itself – as the growing crowds have to work their way through all the construction.

“It was pretty busy and especially with some of the construction, I hadn’t been through it so it was kind of tough finding a way… I had a couple of people come up to me asking me where to go and I was like ahh, just kind of follow the signs,” said Rothermel.

While travel has been hectic today, passengers suggest giving themselves some extra time and expecting delays.

Rothermel added, “It was better than expected, but definitely should get to the airport with plenty of time.”

As of 5 pm Wednesday, Flight Aware showed there were nearly 90 flight delays at Charlotte Douglas and no cancellations. As people travel for the holiday, Ogden said, “Happy Thanksgiving to everybody and God Bless.”

If you have plans to fly, arrive early to park, check your bags and give yourself enough time to make it through TSA checkpoints for your flight.