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Charlotte airport expecting a busy weekend as people ready to fly this holiday weekend

American Airlines’ schedule this weekend has increased 134 percent and customer traffic is expected to nearly triple.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — People are taking to the skies and the roads this Memorial Day weekend.

According to AAA, more than 37 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home from May 27 through May 31, which is an increase of 60% from last year when only 23 million traveled. Last year was the lowest on record since AAA began recording in 2000.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport is expecting approximately 24,000 to 26,000 daily local passengers from May 27 through May 31, with 100,000 daily connecting passengers.

Before the pandemic, Connie and Joe Lowry were used to being frequent flyers.

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"COVID, it's been the first time since 1994 that I've spent more than three weeks straight at home,” Joe said.

The couple got an airplane Friday for the first time since March 2020 to visit family in New York.

"For me, it was my age and a little concerned about the safety of it and actually, any place we wanted to go was closed,” said Connie about why they did not fly. “You couldn't do anything when you got there."

Amanda Hinson decided to go on a girls' trip to NYC after not flying during the pandemic.

"I was definitely scared to get on a plane, but now I feel like, cause I actually got COVID before, I feel like, you know, I'll be ok now,” Hinson said, “so as long as I wear my mask and wash my hands."

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Bill Belpanno came to the airport to pick up his son, who was flying in from New York. Belpanno said he hasn’t seen his son in two years.

"It was sad,” Belpanno said. “When I was talking to someone yesterday and they said, 'Well how long has it been since you've seen your son?' And I went, ‘Two years,’ and I kind of stopped and was like, 'Oh my God, it's been two years.’”

Belpanno said he was looking forward to the reunion with his son and meeting his son’s girlfriend.

Contact Kendall Morris at kmorris2@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.