More than 100,000 people travel through Charlotte airport

by: Jeff Smith Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Tens of thousands of people flew Wednesday out of Charlotte Douglas, one of the busiest days of the year for the airport.

The number of passengers who flew out of Charlotte to another city was more than double what the airport normally handles -- so there were long lines and a few headaches.

But for many families, especially those with kids, it wasn't as bad as last year.

The Opitz family had a long night ahead of them when they took off on the red-eye flight to Germany. And with two young kids, getting packed and ready for the airport was an all-day affair.

"Traffic on the highway was bad. It was really bad," said Michelle Opitz. "Long lines at the airport, parking took a while to find a parking spot."

New security changes at the airport are making it easier to get through checkpoints this year. For example, the elderly and children no longer have to take off their shoes at checkpoints.

"In Frankfort, what they do is when you have kids, they put you to the front of the line.  That's the best," Opitz said.

"But at least they don't have to take off their shoes now here at home," Eyewitness News said.

"Amen to that," Opitz said with a laugh.

A total of 25,000 passengers flew out of Charlotte to another destination Wednesday. When you add up all the passengers at the airport -- people flying out of, into or connecting through Charlotte -- officials estimated the number at 100,000.

"It's always a headache trying to get through the checkpoint," said passenger Ryan Mulder.

Because there's a new terminal at Charlotte Douglas, there are more security checkpoints this holiday.

There were still long lines, but they moved fairly quickly. It was about a 25-minute wait to get through security in the early evening. Parents like Kevin Danko said it used to be worse.

"It's actually not too bad now that they don't have to take off their shoes. That's sped up the process, made it easier," he said.