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Fliers: 5 ways to outsmart Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Here are some ways to ease airport headaches during Thanksgiving week – the busiest time to fly all year.

Are you a travel pro? Send your travel tips to local@charlotteobserver.com. We’ll add them to this list.

•  Avoid parking: Airport officials are advising people to carpool, get dropped off, take a cab or take the bus to Charlotte Douglas International Airport this year. Check which lots are open at parking.charlotteairport.com. Extra officers have been posted to help guide motorists, and extra shuttles are running between parking lots and terminals, airport officials said.

(Because of construction, the airport has an extra problem this year: 4,000 fewer parking spaces. Lots will fill up quickly this year, especially on Tuesday and Wednesday.)

•  If you must park... Here’s a quicker route to long term lots 1 and 2 that avoids Billy Graham Parkway and the airport exit: Drive West on Wilkinson Blvd. You'll see an intersection with a red light that is clearly marked left turn to Long Term Parking. After a short distance, Long Term 1 is to your right and Long Term 2 is to your left.

•  Valet parking: With a daily rate of $10, travelers will pay more, but it might be worth it for the convenience. Just give the keys to an attendant and your vehicle will be parked. Luggage assistance is provided and a designated shuttle delivers passengers to and from the terminal. For more information, call 704-394-6224.

•  Choose your checkpoint wisely: Once inside, remember, the airport has five checkpoints all leading to the same terminal, so whichever one is closest to you might not be the quickest option.

Also, print your boarding passes at home, or use a mobile boarding pass. Find more tips from the Transportation Security Administration here.

•  Watch the weather: A storm system is barreling through the U.S. and may cause canceled flights. Charlotte Douglas officials have begun meeting to discuss preparations for severe weather. Check with your airline for any cancellations or changes to your itinerary. Reporters Rick Bonnell and Jim Utter contributed.

Portillo: 704-358-5041; Twitter: @ESPortillo
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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

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