CHARLOTTE -- As Thanksgiving approaches, the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport is gearing up for some of the busiest travel days of the year with 4,000 few parking spaces than last year.
With continued construction on a new hourly parking deck, airport officials are encouraging people to plan ahead this holiday season and look for alternative ways to get to the airport.
Herbert Judon, the assistant aviation director at Charlotte-Douglas, said the construction creates a more challenging environment for travelers, but the airport has several tools to ease the stress.
He says the use of dynamic roadway signs, interactive parking maps online and parking representatives in the lots will ease congestion.
"The best thing for people to do is use these tools and be proactive and come out as early as possible and pack some patience as well," Judon said.
It also may be a good idea to consider carpooling, getting dropped off by a friend or taking the bus to the airport. Another alternative is Park'N Go, a privately-operated lot near I-85 and Little Rock Road.
"We have definitely seen an increase in business since the construction at the airport, and we do anticipate holding on to that business," said general manager Debra Bengel. "Our service is much more personalized.
Park'N Go holds more than 1,500 cars and uses shuttle buses to take travelers from their cars to the airport terminal and back. Staff will be double-scheduled to prepare for the Thanksgiving crowds, and travelers can reserve a parking spot online in advance.
"All holidays are busy, but Thanksgiving is probably the biggest push because it all happens from Wednesday to Sunday," Bengel said.
The airport expects about 25,000 people to depart from Charlotte-Douglas on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving.