Christmas Travel Rush Begins Thursday At Charlotte Douglas Airport

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Christmas travel begins Thursday at CLT. The Airport is expecting large crowds for the remainder of December through Monday, Jan. 2. In fact, the only slow days are forecasted to be Saturday, Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve), Sunday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day) and Saturday, Dec. 31 (New Year’s Eve).

On peak days, CLT will welcome approximately 71,000 daily passengers. For comparison, on a normal day the Airport serves around 66,000 daily passengers. There will be extra staff in Departures/Ticketing and on the curbside to assist customers.

Passengers should:

  • Prepare for long lines at ticket counters and security checkpoints. Estimated TSA security wait times can be viewed on CLT’s website ( or app (download at the App Store or on Google Play).
  • Plan ahead. Arrive at least two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international travel.
  • Sign up for TSA PreCheck® at
  • Visit the Airport app or to book parking online for the best rates. Same-day booking is limited for all products and must be made a minimum of three hours in advance.
  • Get dropped off at CLT or find alternative transportation to the terminal.

Parking will be in high demand Sunday, Dec. 18 through Monday, Jan. 2 for CLT’s more than 21,000 public parking spaces. Drive-up parking will be available. View the CLT real-time parking map or call 704.359.5555 for the latest parking conditions. Drivers who are picking up passengers should take advantage of CLT’s free Cell Phone Lot located on Josh Birmingham Parkway.

Please note: Only credit cards are accepted for all Airport parking. Cashiers are not available at exit tolls. Cash is only accepted at CLT’s Pay&Go stations located in the Hourly Deck.

Airport traffic will be the heaviest on Thursday, Dec. 22, Friday, Dec. 23 and Monday, Jan. 2.

For passengers who have not been to the airport lately, approximately 90,000 square feet of the Terminal Lobby Expansion’s west side debuted in July. When entering the terminal’s upper or lower levels on the west side, ticket counters, security checkpoints and luggage carousels are not immediately visible. Signage has been installed to point customers in the right direction.

Stay connected with the Airport. Follow @CLTairport on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube and LinkedIn. Get the latest Airport news at or sign-up to receive CLT’s electronic newsletters at Also remember to download the free, all-in-one CLT Airport app at the App Store or on Google Play.