CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Holiday travel is back and could be bigger than ever at the Charleston International Airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) forecast the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to be the business travel day of the holiday week with around 48,000 flights planned. The following photo shows the planned flights on Tuesday with brighter colors highlighting the most popular routes.
Pre-pandemic, 2019 was the busiest travel year in the history of the airport, but 2021 surpassed those numbers by about 8%.
Now, they’re anticipating 2022 passenger totals to surpass 2021.
“Folks are feeling comfortable,” said Spencer Pryor, the Deputy Executive Director for Charleston International. “They want to get to see their loved ones, so they are traveling.”
Pryor is encouraging travelers to arrive at the airport two hours early for holiday travel partially due to parking constraints.
“Parking is at a premium during the holidays,” he said. “We have already opened up our Economy C lot which is a holiday lot because the traffic has picked up.”
The above photo does not show extra lots open for holiday parking, including Economy Lots B and C. The C lot requires a complimentary shuttle service provided by the airport.
Pryor does not anticipate a lack of available spaces but says plan B is a remote lot further away from the airport.
“If they need parking, we’ll find a place to park them.”
Another holiday feature is curbside bag checks provided by certain airlines.
“So instead of coming into the ticketing line and checking a bag, you may be able to check your bag outside and save you a few extra moments on that.”
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has extra staff working throughout the holiday week to ensure a quick and easy process through the security lines. Pryor recommends checking TSA’s website to check what can and cannot be brought through security.
Another tip is to check your flight prior to arriving at the airport as inclement weather in other parts of the country may impact flights.
Pryor believes Tuesday will be the busiest travel day at Charleston International Airport but expect to see a high volume of passengers on Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day as well.
“We just encourage folks to be patient, know that we’re going to get you to your final destination,” said Pryor.