CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Travelers expected to take to the sky out of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport for the holiday weekend should pack their patience.
The airport is expecting between 27,000 and 28,000 people to start their trips at Charlotte's airport each day on Thursday, Friday and Monday.
That's a major increase from what it's been, as Charlotte-Douglas is only used to seeing roughly 10,000 people start their trips at the airport each day.
"For it to be a Wednesday, it's quite a bit. It's a lot," said Tamika Cook-Harley, who was flying to Las Vegas with her sister.
She arrived three hours early, and hopefully, other travelers will follow suit.
Airport officials are asking everyone who is traveling Thursday through Monday to give arrive at the airport three hours before your flight.
The reason is because of a shortage of workers, from TSA agents to those working in restaurants and businesses inside the airport.
“We are recovering much quicker than other airports nationwide,” said Aviation Director Haley Gentry in a news release. “Of course, it is great to see our passenger numbers growing, but throughout the country, staffing challenges persist. We continue to work with our tenants and partners to address their employment needs in an effort to minimize impacts to the passenger experience.”
Currently, Charlotte's airport is at 93% of 2019 pre-pandemic passenger numbers, officials said.
But if you've traveled out of Charlotte before, you know it doesn't take a holiday weekend for long lines to grow quickly.
"There was such a disconnect between TSA and the flights," said Jan Nation, who traveled to and from Charlotte recently.
Nation was flying from Charlotte back home to Philadelphia when she arrived at Charlotte-Douglas an hour and a half before her flight.
That wasn't long enough. Long security lines forced her to miss her flight and a day of work after she wasn't able to get a standby ticket.
"The lines for security in Charlotte -- are just not working," she added.
Finding staff is a nationwide problem that won't be fixed before the holiday weekend, so Nation and airport officials are asking you to pack your patience and plan to spend some time in line.
Airport officials say peak times for security are between 5:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. and between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the afternoon.