CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston International Airport officials say they expect some 100,000 travelers passing through their terminals during the week of Thanksgiving this year.
"Thanksgiving is the kick off to the holiday travel season. With recording breaking numbers last year, we expect to be even busier this year," Paul G. Campbell Jr., executive director and CEO of the Charleston County Aviation Authority, said.
Officials urge passengers to plan ahead for everything from finding a parking place to checking in and going through security screening.
This time last year, the airport was in the middle of a renovation project with ongoing construction work forcing detours and some inconveniences, airport officials acknowledge.
But Campbell says this year's air travelers will reap the benefits of that project.
"Now, we're excited that our passengers will experience a brand new terminal with all new dining and shopping," Campbell said. "The airport is more modern but still filled with same Southern hospitality that people have come to expect in Charleston."
Here's what passengers need to know to be ready:
- Expect lines. The busiest travel days are typically the Tuesday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving but lines are possible all week. It may be difficult to tear yourself away from your Thanksgiving gathering or Black Friday shopping, but Thanksgiving Day tends to be the least busy travel day.
- Arrive early. At least 90 minutes to two hours early. Don’t forget a lot of other people are traveling too. Leave plenty of time to arrive at the airport, find parking, check-in and go through security screening.
- Plan ahead. If parking at the airport, remember spaces fill fast during the holidays. You should plan extra time in your schedule in case it takes a bit to find a space. Also remember there are new rates:
- Valet: $21 a day
- Parking Deck: 15 a day
- Surface lot: $10 a day
- *Seasonal Remote Parking: $10 a day. The *seasonal remote parking is opened when both the surface lot and parking deck are full. When the remote parking is in use, shuttle service to the terminal is available from that lot. Payment in the remote lot is by credit or debit card only. No cash.
- Picking up. If picking up someone at the airport, 40 spaces are available in the cell phone waiting lot on International Boulevard just before the terminal. You can also park in the deck or the surface lot as space is available.
The Charleston County Aviation Authority owns and operates Charleston International Airport.