We’re Working Hard on the Travel Experience

Jun. 29, 2023 – What you don’t see is as important as what you do when you come to the Airport.

It’s no secret that air travel is bouncing back from the pandemic slump. The CLT terminal is filled with people, lines are everywhere and parking is in high demand.

CLT is always looking at ways to improve the travel experience. Often that work happens behind the scenes. If everything is working well internally and passengers are planning ahead, the travel journey goes more smoothly.  

Don’t Fly by the Seat of Your Pants is a phrase you will hear often from us this summer and beyond. It will be accompanied by tips for traveling, whether it’s a normal day where everything goes right or one of those crazy days with bumps along the way.

The phrase originated in Great Britain, and it comes from aviation (yes, really). According to Wonderopolis, an online site where curious questions are answered:

“Since early aircraft did not have the many instruments modern planes have, pilots had to rely primarily on their own perceptions and judgement. Early pilots often flew without radios and other fancy gadgets. Instead, they learned to react to the feel of the plane. Of course, the body part that usually had the most contact with the plane was the pilot's backside.

“Early pilots developed an ability to estimate wind speed, external temperature and the overall condition of an airplane simply by paying attention to their senses — including the sense of feeling from their backsides!

“If you can imagine flying a plane without a radio or other instruments through clouds or thick fog, you can begin to imagine what it must have been like for early pilots to fly by the seat of their pants!”

There are a few thoughts on its meaning today but generally, it suggests you are acting on instinct or improvising without planning.

As the Airport terminal’s owner and operator, we strive to do everything we can to ensure the Airport is running at the peak performance levels. We also strive to support our eight major airlines and countless partners that contribute to safety and security and provide the services and amenities you expect. We are:

  • staying flexible and adjusting operations in real time and as needed.
  • adding staff throughout the Ticketing lobby to help direct people and answer questions. With construction happening all around us, we understand the terminal may look different – whether your last visit was two weeks ago, or this is your first time flying. Look for the Airport workers in the yellow vests or stop at the Information Services Counter near Checkpoint A if you need some help.
  • deploying teams who are working 24/7 to handle any issue, whether the baggage belts or air conditioning stops working or there’s an accident on the roads leading to the terminal.
  • working closely with our Transportation Security Administration partners who staff and manage the security screening lanes. Check wait times frequently when driving here and again when you are in the terminal. Remember, any checkpoint gets you to any gate. Also, don’t forget to check your bags before you pack for weapons or other items not allowed in the Airport or on the plane. The TSA provides information on how to pack, declare and travel with a firearm on its website. If a weapon is found in your bags, that will cause delays for you and the many other passengers likely in line with you.
  • in communication daily with our airline partners who get your bags from the check-in counter to the plane without hiccups. When something does happen, we have the expertise on standby to tackle problems quickly and efficiently and the ability to provide additional training to prevent future problems. Remember, only the airlines can manage flight delays or cancellations and getting your checked luggage to and from the plane.  

Finally, we are exploring ways to make it easier once you get here to move quickly through security. When you get in line, we want to estimate how long it will take you to go through screening. It’s based on technology like that used at theme park ride queues. More to come.

The majority of people who fly to, from and through CLT each day have a good travel experience. Planning ahead for everything from your parking (book it online ahead of time) to long lines (get here earlier than you think you need to) to flight status, cancellations or delays (have your airline contact information handy) is the best way to be proactive so you Don’t Fly by the Seat of Your Pants.