​Holiday Travel is Underway at Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Passengers Encouraged to Plan Ahead, Be Prepared and Arrive Early

December 20, 2016 - Christmas holiday travel is underway at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Airlines report flights will be near capacity. Passengers are encouraged to plan ahead, be prepared and arrive early.

Christmas is the second busiest time of the year for Charlotte Douglas, preceded by Thanksgiving. The two holidays differ, however, because Christmas passenger traffic is distributed over a longer period of time. Peak travel days will be Wednesday, December 21 – Friday, December 23 as passengers depart for their holiday destination and Monday, December 26- Wednesday, December 28 upon their return trip home.

Projected numbers for screened (originating) passengers through Monday show:


Date TSA's Christmas Forecast for Passengers Screened
Tuesday, December 20, 2016 20,480
Wednesday, December 21, 2016 25,210
Thursday, December 22, 2016 28,870
Friday, December 23, 2016 29,130
Saturday, December 24, 2016 19,240
Sunday, December 25, 2016 16,950
Monday, December 26, 2016 30,000


That's in addition to the more than 100,000 passengers who connect through CLT daily.

Security checkpoints will open at 4 a.m. Ticket counters will begin opening at 4:15 a.m. Passengers, as a reminder, should check with their airlines for any weather related questions.

Parking will be in high demand Wednesday, December 21 – Monday, January 2. Drivers are encouraged to use the Hourly Deck for picking up and dropping off passengers. It is free for the first hour and within walking distance to the terminal. Overhead dynamic signage and digital signage will prompt customers to use the Hourly Deck for quick drop off/pickup.

As a reminder, the curbside is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers; curbside parking is not allowed, regardless of whether the vehicle is attended or not. Please remember vehicles left unattended may be towed, while vehicles parked and waiting may be subject to citations. This includes all lanes on the Departures/Ticketing and Arrivals/Baggage Claim levels.

New this year, the Airport recently added an indoor Animal Relief Area between Concourses A and B that is equipped with disposal bags, trash can, air refresher dispenser and hand sanitizer. Inside the terminal, CLT also offers free WiFi. Select the network "CLT Free WiFi" to be connected. Another amenity is the Mother's Room. Located in the upper level of the Atrium, it 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.

To accommodate holiday travel demands, CLT is:

  • Using overhead dynamic signage and digital signage to prompt customers to use the Hourly Deck for quick drop off/pickup.
  • Stationing traffic officers in front of the terminal and along other roadway locations as needed to assist with traffic flow, as well as positioning additional Aviation Department, TSA and airline staff in the lobby to assist customers.
  • Adding more resources to Airport shuttle bus and parking operations.

Passengers may plan their trip to the Airport by:

  • Arriving to the Airport early.
  • Visiting parking.charlotteairport.com and view 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 at the Daily deck's shuttle bus stop. Two more are located on the curbside in front of the Arrivals/Baggage Claim area. 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:

  • Carpooling
  • Catching a ride to the terminal
  • Taking a taxi, ride share or other form of transportation
  • Riding the CATS Sprinter bus (Route 5 – Airport) or Airport Connector at Archdale and Northlake Park and Ride lots

Holiday Travel Tips:

  • View TSA's travel tips at tsa.gov/travel/travel-tips.
  • For up-to-date parking conditions and prices, call 704.359.5555 or visit parking.charlotteairport.com.
  • 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 is to park in the free Cell Phone Lot next to Long Term 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 may be towed. This includes all lanes on the ticketing and baggage claim levels.
  • 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 your flight.
  • 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 visiting cltairport.com or by calling the Airport's automated phone information line at 704.359.4910.
  • Contact your airline for updated flight information.


Follow CLT's Twitter feed (@CLTAirport) for the most up-to-date parking tips, and visit parking.charlotteairport.com for a complete list of holiday parking and travel tips. For the latest Airport news, link to cltairport.com/news.