• Stranded travelers say not enough eating options at airport

    By: Stephanie Coueignoux

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Travelers left stranded by last week’s major winter storm told Channel 9 there just aren’t enough places to get food outside security at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

    “I say it’s kind of ridiculous. If you can’t get though security, you can’t eat,” said traveler Robert Thomas.

    Thomas said because his flight was canceled and he has to check his luggage, he couldn’t get through security to buy food.

    If you don’t have a ticket to get through security and you are stuck in the pre-screening section of the airport, the Starbucks is the only place open 24 hours where you can buy food and drinks.

    “That’s bad, because Starbucks wasn’t good enough, this was the last sandwich,” said Kaayla Heighton.

    There is a second restaurant downstairs near baggage claim, but passengers say two options are not enough for the sixth-busiest airport in the world that welcomes more than 32 million visitors per year.

    Airport officials sent Channel 9 a statement saying, “The vast majority of travelers are connecting passengers -- 85 to 90 percent -- who are already located inside the secure area.”

    Once inside security, passengers have nine other restaurants to choose from.

    Channel 9 took a look at other hubs across the United States to see how many options they have before their security checkpoints.

    For hubs larger than Charlotte:

    • Atlanta has nine
    • Baltimore has eight
    • Los Angeles has seven


    For hubs smaller than Charlotte:

    • Las Vegas has four
    • Phoenix has two
    • Raleigh-Durham has two


    Airport officials are planning to expand the ticketing and baggage claim area, but have no plans to expand the concession area anytime soon.

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