Read More: Christmas Travel Tips
Christmas holiday travel begins tomorrow at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Airlines report flights are at near capacity. Passengers are encouraged to plan ahead, be prepared and arrive early.
Airlines for America projects 47.5 million passengers nationwide will fly Thursday, Dec. 19 – Sunday, Jan. 5, a 3 percent increase from last year.
TSA’s forecast throughout this week shows originating passenger numbers (those who begin and end their trip at CLT) will peak on Thursday, Dec. 19 with more than 34,000 starting their holiday travels at Charlotte Douglas.
Other predicted high-volume days: Friday, Dec. 20 (32,810 originating passengers), Saturday, Dec. 21 (30,870 originating passengers), Sunday, Dec. 22 (32,040 originating passengers) and Monday, Dec. 23 (29,920 originating passengers). To put those numbers in context, CLT averages 23,000 to 24,000 daily originating passengers in December. These numbers are in addition to the approximately 100,000 people who connect through CLT each day.
Travel will slow down on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with 22,000 originating passengers, but will immediately pick back up on Thursday, Dec. 26 and Friday, Dec. 27 with more than 30,000 originating passengers.
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.
Parking will be in high demand Thursday, December 19 - Thursday, January 2 and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Long Term parking typically reaches capacity first. Be sure to view CLT’s real-time parking map or call 704.359.5555 to hear the latest parking conditions.
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.