Travel

Local travel good; but airport delays in Mid-Atlantic

Bad weather in the Mid-Atlantic region is causing problems for Thanksgiving travelers today, but anyone flying or driving to Southeast destinations is off to a smooth start.

The Great Thanksgiving Migration is under way, with more than 1.8 million Carolinas residents planning to travel 50 or more miles for the holidays.

The weather over much of the Carolinas is good at midday Wednesday, although the winds are strong enough to make some flights bumpy.

At Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, flights are leaving on time, for the most part. But some travelers are complaining about having difficulty finding a place to park. Four of the airport's most popular lots were full at 2 p.m., but other lots remained open.

Updated airport parking conditions -- and a map of lots -- can be found online at http://bit.ly/uqBunC.

Heavy rain is causing problems elsewhere. At 2 p.m., the FAA reported delays of up to an hour were reported in Philadelphia; and delays of 45 minutes were reported in Baltimore, New York (LaGuardia) and Newark. Rain and strong winds are blamed for the delays.

As expected, Charlotte/Douglas is the busiest place in town.

At 5 a.m., hundreds of people already were in line. But a check of the flight schedule at 12:15 p.m. showed the vast majority of flights were on schedule. Even flights to Philadelphia and Newark were marked as being on-time.

There were some air-related problems Tuesday night, when thunderstorms delayed flights in parts of the South and caused some travelers to miss their connections. That was the case with Christine Modano, who said a delayed flight from Atlanta got her into Charlotte too late to get on a second flight to Philadelphia.

"But I was able to get on a flight that's leaving at 6:30," she said early Wednesday morning. "I didn't get a great night's sleep, but I'll catch up."

Parking lots at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport are filling, as could be expected.

At 2 p.m., the airport said travelers should allow extra time to find a parking space. Four lots are closed -- Daily North, Long Term 1, Long Term 2, and Long Term 3. Long Term 4, which had been full earlier this morning, is now open. To access that airport, turn left on Old Dowd Road (as you arrive at the airport on Josh Birmingham Parkway), and watch for the lot on your left.

Lee Davis, a spokeswoman for the airport, said passengers needn't worry. "There will be a parking spot for everyone," she said.

But she reminded passengers to arrive early, because they might need to use a lot that requires a shuttle bus trip to the airport concourse.

Travelers can get airport information by check www.cltairport.com.

For those driving, problems were reported in Maryland and West Virginia, where flooding has closed some roads. A mudslide is blocking a portion of Interstate 68 in western Maryland.

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