Charlotte airport officials prepare for busy Thanksgiving travel season

By: Tina Terry

Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Officials at Charlotte Douglas International Airport are preparing for the airport's busiest travel time next week, when thousands will head off to their Thanksgiving destinations.

On Tuesday, officials told Channel 9 that they’re expecting about 30,000 people a day to pass through the airport during the Thanksgiving travel season -- a 3 percent increase over last year.

Travelers at the airport said that they’re already gearing up for their holiday season flights.

"I'm flying about three times between now and Christmas," passenger Douglas Gilbert said.

The travel week comes just after a scathing report from Homeland Security found that weapons are getting through Transportation Security Administration scanners 80 percent of the time.

[RELATED: Charlotte's airport plans security upgrades after TSA fails screening tests]

The TSA security director at the Charlotte airport, Kevin Frederick, said that the agency is ready for the season’s high volume of travelers.

"If you try to bring a gun to the checkpoint, we're gonna find it," Frederick said. 

The TSA is planning new security upgrades, which including larger bins with cameras that will photograph the contents of the bins.

TSA officials also want to scan all bags with an X-ray camera.

A timeline for those changes hasn’t been given, but Frederick said they’ll happen “sooner rather than later.”

Frederick added that he wants the public to know the undercover operation into TSA screenings dealt with only one layer of security, and there are 19 others.

"TSA has 20 layers of security that starts when a passenger calls for a reservation to when they arrive at their destination," Frederick said.

TSA officials said they don’t expect traveler wait times to exceed 30-35 minutes during the upcoming holiday.

To avoid any hassle, officials said, arrive two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international trips.

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