NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The week of Thanksgiving will be the busiest travel week of the year at the Charleston International Airport.
More travelers pass through the airport for Thanksgiving compared to Christmas. In 2014, 33,334 people flew out of Charleston during the week of Thanksgiving. Most travelers got a jump start on the holidays by leaving a day or two before the holiday. TSA screened 5,689 passengers on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and another 5,283 travelers on Wednesday, the day before the holiday. The holiday itself was rather slow with only 2,653 people flying out of town.
Thousands of visitors to the Lowcountry will be flying home together on Sunday. Last year, Sunday was the top day for departures after Thanksgiving with 6,115 passengers screened by TSA.
"Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season so we expect to be as busy, if not busier, this year than last year," said Charleston County Aviation Authority CEO, Paul G. Campbell Jr.
"While we will be busy, there are things passengers can do to make sure they have a great, hassle-free travel experience," said Campbell.
The airport suggests allowing plenty of time to get to the airport, park and check-in for your flight. You can expect a busy parking lot and longer lines for security screenings. Parking during the holidays will be at a premium so the airport suggests considering alternatives for traveling to your flight. If you can, have someone drop you off or carpool with another traveler. CARTA also has service to the airport and taxi or Uber services could also be a quicker option.
If you do need to drive and park, you have four options at Charleston International Airport. Seasonal remote lots with a free shuttle to the terminal will be open Nov. 24 through Jan. 10. Parking at the seasonal lots is $8 a day. The surface lot also offers cheaper long-term parking for $8 a day, but will fill up fast. For shorter trips, you may consider deck parking for $15 a day or valet parking for $18 a day.
If you are picking up friends or family coming into town or returning over the weekend, the cell phone waiting lot is always the best option. The lot on International Blvd. has forty spaces for cars to sit and wait.
Always remember to check with the airline before you travel to the airport, whether you're flying out or picking up. Flights could be delayed due to a number of factors including heavy traffic, weather or heightened security.
You can always check flight times and find more information on other airport services by clicking here.