Fewer Parking Spaces, Construction Cause Airport Parking Crunch

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by Audrina Bigos
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CHARLOTTE, NC- Forecasted wintry weather, construction at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and fewer parking spaces are making things rough for people flying in and out of Charlotte.

Airport officials estimate up to 100,000 travelers will fly to and from Charlotte Douglas Tuesday and Wednesday.

Flying out of Charlotte Monday night was part of Jennifer Beatty's strategic Thanksgiving plan.

"We wanted to get a jump on it and leave early before the big day of travel," said Beatty.

Passengers are being told to arrive two and a half hours early for their flights. TSA checkpoints will open at 4a.m. to accommodate the crowds.

As for parking, because of construction on a new hourly parking deck, there are 4,000 fewer spaces than last year.

The airport's online real-time parking map and parking boards around the airport tell you which of the lots are full.

The airport will open an overflow lot Tuesday with 450 spaces off Old Dowd Road. Another option is parking off-site at Park 'N Go and taking a shuttle. 

If you're picking up family, the airport has opened a second cell phone waiting lot.

Some roads around the airport have also re-opened, and additional shuttle buses will run Tuesday and Wednesday. 

If a lack of parking isn't enough, add in forecasted wintry weather.

Charlotte Douglas Assistant Aviation Director Herbert Judon says bad weather could mess up flight schedules and cause delays.

Judon says airport officials are doing what they can to make things run smoothly.

"We'll have extra traffic control personnel, we've also worked with the airlines to make sure that processing and every element in the airport is taken care of," said Judon.

Because of the parking crunch, airport officials recommend travelers take a taxi, get dropped off, or ride the Cats Sprinter to the airport.