CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — As people hit the skies for the holiday weekend, FlightAware data shows 4,100 flights were delayed on Friday, including 295 just at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
Twenty-six flights headed into or out of the Queen City were also grounded.
Keeping that in mind, travel experts predict this Fourth of July will be the busiest one for travel in years.
AAA analysts expect 48 million Americans to travel for the holiday weekend. That’s despite the fact ticket prices are up about 20 to 30 percent compared to 2019.
Passengers said even if they can afford a ticket, it doesn’t guarantee their plane will take off. Heads of major airlines said overworked crews and understaffed planes are behind a majority of the tens of thousands of recent schedule changes and delays.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said his department is working to help airlines and hold them accountable for the disruptions. TSA officials tell QCN they have extra agents in Charlotte this weekend to keep security lines as short as possible.
“We’re also using the K-9s to keep expedite folks through at the checkpoint and we’re flexing overtime over the weekend as well. Things so far today have flowed really smoothly,” Mark Howell said with TSA.
He said their goal is to keep the average wait time shorter than 30 minutes and shorter than 10 minutes for pre-check.
QCN asked why travelers get different instructions depending on which airport they go to. Shoes off, laptops out, liquids out, etc. Sometimes it seems to vary between different checkpoints at the same airport.
The regional spokesperson said it depends on which type of electronic scanners are at each checkpoint. And if their dogs can scan through the bags before they get to the agent, it acts as a sort of pre-check and typically that means people can keep their electronics in the bag.
He said bottom line travelers need to listen to the instructions agents will shout out at the checkpoint.
AAA analysts also predict 42 million people will hit the roads this weekend, despite high gas prices. The national average for a gallon of regular gas is $4.84, a two-cent drop from Thursday.
North Carolina drivers are paying about $4.49 for every gallon of gas. The average in South Carolina sits around $4.36.