CHARLOTTE, NC — Flights canceled or delayed. Passengers stranded.
Wintry weather in the Northeast is throwing a wrench into holiday travel plans.
Between 600,000 and 800,000 people will move through Charlotte-Douglas during the Thanksgiving travel rush, setting a new record for the airport.
“I was just on a flight that got canceled,” said traveler Bart Linderman. “So I’m trying to figure out where to go next. “
“I mean it’s a bummer, but what are you going to do?” said traveler Jack Brady.
Brady is a student at Clemson. He came to Charlotte to fly home, knowing his flight might be in trouble.
“I’m from Connecticut and the flight got canceled because they are expecting a lot of snow,” said Brady. “So I just got it scheduled for tomorrow.”
Linderman was on the same flight, heading home to Hartford, hoping to make it before Thanksgiving.
“The flight was originally supposed to leave at 2:30 I think, but then got delayed a couple of times,” said Linderman. “Then they finally canceled it.”
The number of passengers moving through Charlotte-Douglas is at record levels.
“Yesterday was saw 26,000 passengers come through the security checkpoint,” said airport terminal operations manager Martha Edge. “So that’s on this side of security. And then on the opposite side, anywhere from 70 to 100,000.”
And travelers should build in some extra time. Traffic is backed up and parking can be tough to find.
“All of our long term lots are to capacity, so they’re closed,” said assistant aviation director Herbert Judon. “We do have available parking in the daily decks. Also we’ve got about 3,700 spaces available in the hourly deck.”
The daily deck is free all Thanksgiving Day.
Charlotte-Douglas expects its biggest day of the year on Sunday, when everybody is heading home.
“Most people tend to come back on Sunday, so we are well prepared for that,” said Katie Cody with American Airlines. “We’ve got extra flights, extra staffing.”
“We’ve compared it with the DNC,” said Judon. “The Friday after the DNC we had 29,000 originating passengers out of Charlotte. This Sunday we’re looking at about 27,000.”