Thanksgiving Travel Kicks Off Nov. 16
CLT Expects Record-Breaking Passenger Traffic
Passengers featured in the terminal walking to and from gates with luggage and backpacks

This Thanksgiving travel season is expected to be the busiest one yet at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Holiday traffic will be busiest from the Thursday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 16) through the Monday after (Nov. 27). During this 12-day period, approximately 900,000 local and connecting passengers are forecasted to depart from the Airport, an increase of 9% above 2019 and 14% above last year.

The busiest days will be Sunday, Nov. 26; Monday, Nov. 27; Friday, Nov. 17; Wednesday Nov. 22 and Saturday, Nov. 25. Total annual passenger traffic to date has exceeded record-breaking 2019 by 6%, while local passenger traffic has bested 2019 by 12%.

CLT will have additional staff dressed in bright yellow vests in the lobby to guide and assist travelers.

Parking will be in high demand. Passengers are strongly advised to book parking online at and be inside the terminal at least two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight. Security wait times are expected to reach up to 45 minutes during busy times.

The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Checkpoint 1 opened Nov. 5. The checkpoint features eight screening lanes, including six Automated Screening Lanes. With the opening of Checkpoint 1, Checkpoint D closed. Standard lanes are located at Checkpoints 1, A and E. TSA PreCheck® is located at Checkpoint C. Any checkpoint can get you to any gate. No other changes are anticipated to the security screening process until after the holiday travel season. By early 2025, the Airport will have consolidated its five security checkpoints into three numbered security checkpoints.

For a smooth traveling experience this holiday season, Don’t Fly by the Seat of Your Pants:

Book your parking when you book your flight.

Are You Here Yet?

  • The Airport will be busy. Expect crowds and long lines at security checkpoints.
  • Keep an eye on shuttle bus wait times on the CLT Airport App.
  • Visit to learn what’s allowed through security checkpoints. Check with your airline for any additional restrictions for what is allowed on your aircraft.
  • Monitor estimated security wait times on CLT’s website or app and remember any checkpoint can get you to any gate. Wait times can change frequently, therefore, check often. TSA strives to keep security wait times to 30 minutes or less for standard screening and under 15 minutes for TSA PreCheck®.
  • Drivers who are picking up passengers should take advantage of CLT’s free Cell Phone Lot located on Josh Birmingham Parkway and wait 20 to 30 minutes after the plane lands before driving to the terminal.

Terminal Lobby Expansion East Side Opened Nov. 9

  • The Terminal Lobby Expansion’s (TLE) east side debuted to passengers Nov. 9, providing approximately 90,000 square feet of additional circulation space and access to the east subterranean walkway.
  • Features of the TLE east side include large, picturesque windows, terrazzo flooring throughout, bright blue tiles framing the entrances/exits and architectural-detailed scalloped ceilings.
  • The next phase includes renovating the remainder of the original lobby, finishing the 146,000-square-foot canopy that will protect passengers from bad weather while being dropped off in front of the terminal as well as overhead walkways so visitors can bypass Airport traffic.
  • The TLE will increase the current lobby space by 175,000 square feet and renovate another 191,000 square feet.

New Concessions/Amenities

  • The Airport’s first pre-security sit-down dining option, Queen Charlotte’s Kitchen, debuted Oct. 13 near the Queen Charlotte sculpture. It offers breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as wine, beer and cocktails. It is located near The Queen’s Court, a large gathering space open from floor to ceiling that is drenched in natural light.
  • Post security, Midwood Smokehouse (Concourse B), PDQ (Concourse E) and SAMBAZON Acai Bowls (Concourse D) all debuted recently. Triple C Brewing, a Charlotte brewery, will open Nov. 17 on Concourse D.
  • If you are traveling on Thanksgiving Day, Brookwood Farms in the Atrium will offer a traditional holiday meal with turkey, ham, gravy, cornbread dressing, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes and desserts. Barbecue also will be on the menu.
  • Choose to skip the lines. Order food in advance at or by downloading the CLT Airport app.