Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review of Charleston International Airport

Getting in and out of the Charleston airport is a pretty darn quick process. That process holds true for public parking, check in, baggage claim, and car rental. I usually make my excursion to the low country via minivan (ala fifteen hour road trip), but there have been those times when a two hour flight from Chicago to Charleston is the ideal way to travel. While the selection of carriers flying to and from this smaller market destination can be limited, I find it encouraging that the popular discount carrier, Southwest airlines has added Charleston to their list of cities for travel. This no frills airline has stood behind their reputation of keeping rates competitive and not gouging the customer with baggage fees as all other carriers seem to be doing. Other airlines traveling into Charleston include US Airways, United, Continental, Delta, and American Airlines.
Coming into Charleston from a larger airport such as O’Hare, I am amused, if not intrigued by the small jet way stairs that greet the passenger as you depart the plane. The quick walk to the gate has you getting to baggage area for clubs and suitcase in only a minute or so. Then there is the matter of car rental if you do not have someone there to pick you up.
There are seven rental companies represented at the car rental counter located within the arrivals area of the terminal. I have rented cars from Enterprise and Avis and experienced good overall service. The car rental lot is located just outside the terminal baggage area. No need for a shuttle, train or long walk to get your rental car and get out; this fleet of cars are about a minute’s walk away. Leaving this airport, it is pretty easy to get your bearings when heading out on International Drive and into the Charleston area via interstate 26.
The public parking lot is also a breeze to find as it is located just across from the terminal. The parking deck allows pickups and overnights to park at $15 per day with a surface lot located behind it at $8 per day. Excess parking can be found on busy travel days as these overflow lots are located at the end of the circle (proceeding away from the terminal drop off area). Here is a web link and map of the airport.
If I did not have a large family, I would most likely opt to fly instead of drive to the lowcounrty for every annual visit.

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