Prepare for holiday travel at CLT Airport + ‘Shark Week’ blimp coming this weekend

·3 min read

Happy Friday! KJ here. Here’s a fun fact for you: There are around 25 working blimps left in the world, according to Reader’s Digest.

How is this relevant to Charlotte? We’ll have more below.

1. Long lines, some airport parking full at Charlotte airport over July 4th weekend

Lines form at TSA checkpoints Friday morning, July 1, 2022 at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Lines form at TSA checkpoints Friday morning, July 1, 2022 at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

If you’re traveling in the next couple of days, be prepared: This weekend will be one of the busiest of the year.

The days with the most foot traffic are expected to be Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Tuesday, according to CLT. Today alone, traveler numbers are expected to surpass even pre-pandemic numbers, TSA spokesman Mark Howell told reporters.

Parking is expected to be in high demand, too. As of Friday at about noon, parking decks Daily Deck West, Express Deck and Long Term 2 still had some spots available. Long Term 1, Daily North, and Overflow Lots 2 and 3 were full.

More of that from Hannah Smoot here.

Plus, here’s an interesting look at this weekend’s wait times from Hannah: How long are Charlotte airport lines, really? We tested their online estimates.

2. Just when you thought it was safe to look up: ‘Shark Week’ blimp is coming to Charlotte

Discovery Channel will launch two blimps on the East and West Coasts to promote Shark Week, which begins July 24, 2022.
Discovery Channel will launch two blimps on the East and West Coasts to promote Shark Week, which begins July 24, 2022.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s the Shark Week blimp.

If you see a large gray object with fierce-looking teeth making its way across the sky on Sunday, it’s probably just that. The “flying sharks” measure 128 feet long and 44 feet high. The blimps can travel at speeds of more than 50 mph and traverse about 250 miles per day, according to the Discovery Channel.

The good news is if you miss the blimp this Sunday, it will make it’s way back to the Queen City again on Thursday, July 28.

Jonathan Limehouse has the story.

3. As Charlotte extended-stay hotel closes, residents face more uncertainty at new homes

Kymber-Leigh Means peers through water-stained curtains in her room at the Southern Comfort Inn on Monday, June 27, 2022 in Charlotte, NC. Means, along with other residents at the hotel, is being made to move due to the hotel closing. Several residents have been living in the hotel in squalid conditions including signs of mold, bug infestations and water damaged curtains and carpets.
Kymber-Leigh Means peers through water-stained curtains in her room at the Southern Comfort Inn on Monday, June 27, 2022 in Charlotte, NC. Means, along with other residents at the hotel, is being made to move due to the hotel closing. Several residents have been living in the hotel in squalid conditions including signs of mold, bug infestations and water damaged curtains and carpets.

The Southern Comfort Inn on Tuckaseegee Road has rooms infested with bedbugs, roaches, and mold, fallen ceilings, and unusable toilets and sinks.

Living conditions were gruesome and the long-term-stay hotel closed earlier this week — its property manager told city officials the inn couldn’t pay its bills or make repairs because many residents were behind on rent.

So where will its residents go now?

“Y’all put me in a new hotel for 90 days,” former resident Kymber-Leigh Means said. “You realize that puts me back on the streets in October and November... If you’re gonna put me on the streets can you just put me on the streets now for 90 days and then can I get the hotel in October instead?”

Charlotte Kramon has more.

4. Some more reads heading into the weekend

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Contact info for KJ Edelman
Contact info for KJ Edelman