CLT Expects Large Crowds This Holiday Season

CHARLOTTE, NC – Charlotte Douglas International Airport is expecting high passenger numbers this Thanksgiving, as the Airport prepares for its busiest time of the year. Holiday travel begins this weekend.

Airlines report flights will be near capacity. Industry experts are predicting a 7 percent increase overall in passenger traffic nationwide. The busiest travel days will be Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving. To ensure a smooth traveling experience, passengers should plan ahead, be prepared and arrive early to the Airport.

Parking in High Demand

Parking will be in high demand Tuesday, November 20 – Sunday, November 25 and available on a first come, first served basis. Long Term parking typically reaches capacity first. Click here to view CLT’s real-time parking map or call 704.359.5555 to hear the latest parking conditions.

For just $14 a day, the Business Valet Deck provides designated shuttles to and from the terminal’s upper level curbside. Valet attendants park vehicles and provide complimentary luggage assistance. Various auto services are offered for additional expenses.

Drivers are encouraged to use the Hourly Deck for picking up and dropping off passengers. It’s steps from the terminal, helps alleviate traffic on the curbside and the first hour is free. It includes 9 electrical vehicle charging stations for 18 vehicles. Those are located on levels 4, 5 and 6.

Using the Cell Phone Lot

CLT visitors can take advantage of the free Cell Phone Lot adjacent to Long Term Lot 1. Drivers may enter the lot off Josh Birmingham Parkway. The 150-space lot has one center aisle, making it easy to enter and exit. The location allows drivers direct access to the terminal via Josh Birmingham Parkway. Airport staff will be on hand for additional assistance during the holidays.

Terminal Renovations

Inside the Airport, terminal renovations are underway on Concourses A and B. During renovations, Airport operations will not be interrupted. Passengers, however, will see open ceilings and bare concrete flooring in some areas.

Security Checkpoints/American Airlines Ticketing Counters

TSA Security checkpoints and American Airlines ticketing counters will open at 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 20, Wednesday, November 21 and Sunday, November 25. Checkpoint assistance agents will be stationed at the entrance of each checkpoint to help expedite the screening process.

CLT Passenger Amenities

CLT offers free WiFi throughout the terminal. Select the network “CLT Free WiFi” to get connected. For mothers flying with infants, the Mother’s Room provides a dedicated area for mothers who wish for more privacy to nurse their baby or pump breast milk away from the intrusion of the public. It is located on the upper level of the Atrium and Concourse A Expansion.

New Concessions & Retail Choices

The Airport and its partners HMSHost and Paradies Lagardère have introduced new food and retail choices. For local beer enthusiasts, NoDa Brewing Company (Concourse A) and The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (Concourse E) – two Charlotte landmarks-opened to rave reviews. Dylan’s Candy Bar (Atrium), opened in September and Chalice Café (Concourse C), inspired by Stella Artois, debuted in October. An eleventh Starbucks location opened on Concourse A Expansion in September.

For holiday shopping, Kiehl’s (D/E Connector), which offers various skincare products, debuted in June, and No Boundaries (D/E Connector), opened in September. No Boundaries caters to outdoor fanatics.

To accommodate the high passenger volumes this Thanksgiving, CLT plans to:

  • Add more personnel to Airport shuttle bus and parking operations.
  • Increase Airport staff in Ticketing.
  • Station additional traffic officers on the upper and lower levels of Ticketing and Baggage Claim.

Passengers may plan their trip to the Airport by:

  • Arriving to the Airport early.
  • Checking with the airline on the most updated flight status before coming to the Airport.
  • Visiting and viewing CLT’s real-time parking map.
  • Calling 704.359.5555 to hear the latest parking conditions.
  • Slowing down and adhering to the signs when approaching the terminal.
  • Paying attention to and following CLT’s dynamic roadway signs strategically located around Charlotte Douglas for information on which lots are open or full.
  • Using the Pay&Go stations when leaving the terminal for a quicker exit. Four Pay&Go stations are located in the Hourly Deck and four at the Daily deck’s shuttle bus stop. Remember to keep your ticket with you. Upon your return trip home, place your parking ticket in a Pay&Go station and pay by credit card. A validated ticket will be returned. Drivers may then proceed to any lane in the designated lots and insert their validated ticket in the machine to exit.

Travelers should also consider other travel options for arriving at the Airport, including:

Holiday Travel Tips:

  • View TSA’s travel tips.
  • For up-to-date parking conditions and prices, call 704.359.5555 or click here.
  • Get dropped off at the Airport, carpool, ride CATS, or use one of the many taxi and ground transportation companies serving the Airport.
  • Visitors picking up family or friends are encouraged to park in the Hourly Deck. It’s within walking distance to the terminal and the first hour is free.
  • Another option – use CLT’s Cell Phone Lot located adjacent to Long Term Lot 1. Just wait in your vehicle and ask your passenger to contact you when they claim their luggage, then drive to either level of the terminal to pick them up.
  • Passengers can be picked up and dropped off along the terminal’s curbside, however, vehicles cannot be left unattended. Curbside parking is not allowed and unattended vehicles will be towed. This includes all lanes on the Ticketing and Baggage Claim levels.
  • Uber & Lyft’s pickup areas are located on Baggage Claim curbside – Zone E for arriving passengers.
  • Check with your airline for updated flight information, as well as baggage size and weight rules. Additional fees could be applicable.

Departing Passenger Tips:

  • Passengers are advised to arrive early for their flights. When traveling with young children, infants, elderly or disabled passengers, allow for even more time. TSA advises arriving at least two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight.
  • TSA Precheck lines are located at Checkpoints B & D.
  • Checkpoint lines may be adjusted to accommodate the anticipated crowds. Pay close attention to signage directing you to the proper lines.
  • Save time by printing boarding passes at home.
  • Obtain specific information about Charlotte Douglas International Airport by clicking here or by calling the Airport’s automated phone information line at 704.359.4910.
  • Contact your airline for updated flight information or any weather related questions.
  • Follow CLT’s Twitter feed (@CLTAirport) for the most up-to-date holiday travel tips, and visit for real time parking information. For the latest Airport news, link to