As visions of turkey and dressing dance in your head, don’t forget that Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year. If you are flying, there are things you can do to avoid travel troubles.
Nearly 100,000 people flew in and out of Charleston International Airport during Thanksgiving week in 2015. CHS expects to be just as busy this year. That means passengers should plan ahead for everything from finding parking to checking in to going through security screening.
“Thanksgiving is the kick off to the holiday travel season. With recording breaking numbers last year, we expect to be even busier this year,” said Paul G. Campbell Jr., executive director and CEO of the Charleston County Aviation Authority, which owns and operates the airport.
“This time last year we were deep into our terminal redevelopment project with construction creating detours and occasionally some inconveniences for travelers,” Campbell said. “Now, we’re excited that our passengers will experience a brand new terminal with all new dining and shopping. The airport is more modern but still filled with same Southern hospitality that people have come to expect in Charleston.”
So if you are traveling for Thanksgiving, here’s what you need to know.
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.
“We at Charleston International Airport are fortunate for the blessings our passengers, tenants and employees have given us,” Campbell said. “As we give thanks for those blessings remember there are those in our communities that may be less fortunate. Reach out and make their holiday happy if you can. We can all be a part of the change that makes the tri-county area an even better place.”