FOCUS: Plan ahead, arrive early if you’re flying over holiday weekend

Photo courtesy of Charleston International Airport.

Staff reports  |  As many as 100,000 people are expected to fly into or out of Charleston International Airport over the Thanksgiving holiday making it the busiest time of the year for the facility.

Last year, just over 95,000 passengers came through the airport during Thanksgiving. And so far this year, passenger counts are up over last year, which airport Executive Director and CEO Paul G. Campbell Jr. said he expected to continue through the end of the year.

“We are having a great year and we will reach, and possibly top, 4 million passengers in 2017,” Campbell said in a press release. “This next week we expect to be very busy with Thanksgiving travelers so we encourage everyone to plan ahead and arrive at the airport early.”

In 2015 and 2016, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after were the busiest travel days at the airport with approximately 15,000 passengers each of those days.

With all of this in mind, here are some tips to make your travel through Charleston International Airport more stress-free:

  • Expect lines. Arrive 90 minutes before departure for domestic travel and two hours before for international travel.
  • Pack your carry-on luggage wisely. Remove any items that are prohibited on an aircraft and be prepared to remove liquids and electronic devices for separate screening by the Transportation Security Administration.
  • Check your flight status with your airline or on Charleston International’s website at
  • Plan ahead for parking. While nearly 5,000 parking spaces are available for passengers, spaces fill quickly. There are 1,271 spaces in the airport’s parking deck and almost twice as many on surface lots.  Seasonal remote parking spaces number 1,105, while 195 spaces are for valet parking.  The seasonal remote lots open when the surface lot and parking deck are full. In that event, shuttle service will be provided between the remote lots and the terminal. Remote parking is $10 a day. Payment in the remote lot is by credit or debit card only. No cash.

In addition to passenger parking, Charleston International Airport has 40 spaces in its 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 if you want to come inside to greet your arrivals. The first 20 minutes of parking is free if you enter and leave the parking facilities within 20 minutes.


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