Columbia Metro. Airport expects high travel for Final Four

Travelers prepare for Final Four
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 7:33 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) is anticipating high travel volume as the South Carolina Gamecocks women’s basketball team prepares for the Final Four in Dallas, TX.

This coming Friday, the Gamecocks take on Iowa in the team’s third straight appearance in the Final Four. They’re riding a 42-game winning streak at the American Airlines Center, the Dallas Mavericks homebase that holds 20,000 people.

While the stadium is filling up fast, there’s still time to purchase seating online. At the time of this report, prices were ranging anywhere from roughly $400 to over $2,500 per seat.

This does not include airfare through CAE, which does offer two nonstop flights to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) daily. Of three carriers, American Airlines offers nonstop flights from CAE in the morning and evening.

“When it gets like this when the lady Gamecocks are playing, we see an uptick in passengers from the Columbia community traveling out. So, we’re excited that we’re able to offer this nonstop flight to the destination that these games will be played in,” said Kim Crafton, Director of Marketing and Air Service Development for CAE.

Crafton said Dallas is already one of CAE’s top nonstop destinations without the help of a Final Four and National Championship game. This is why the airport is encouraging potential travelers to book their flights to DFW as soon as possible.

At the time of this report, round-trip tickets ranging from approximately $600 to over $1,200 in the main cabin.

“So, we are getting on a plane at 5 a.m. on Friday. I think our plan is not to sleep that night. Just to have a little pre-celebration sleep on the plane. We’re going to get to Dallas, spurs up ready to go and cheer on those Gamecocks,” said Stephanie Abernethy, the Manager of Verve Interiors on Gregg St.

Abernethy said she’s a part of a “girls’ trip” with three additional people. Her plane ticket Tuesday morning was $821.

“I think this is history-making, and I feel like Dawn [Staley] is really going to win that third National Championship. And I want to be there. And my friends want to be there too,” concluded Albernethy.

Friday’s game kicks off at 9 p.m. ET this Friday and is available for streaming.

To check on flights from CAE to DFW, click here.

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