CLT Expects Large Holiday Crowds

CLT is expecting large crowds through next week as passengers begin heading home for the holidays. Airlines report flights will be near capacity. For a stress-free experience, CLT suggests travelers plan ahead, be prepared and arrive early for their flights.
The majority of passengers are expected to depart on Friday, December 20, and return home from their holiday destinations on Thursday, December 26 and Friday, December 27. Security checkpoints are scheduled to open at 4 a.m. Ticket counters will begin greeting customers between 4:30 and 4:45 a.m. Passengers, as a reminder, should check with their airlines for any weather related questions.
Parking will be in high demand Thursday, December 19 – Thursday, December 26. Variable message signs will be placed strategically around the Airport to direct customers to open parking lots. Dynamic signs will also inform passengers which lots are open or closed. Visit for lot locations, directions, costs and real-time parking status.
Drivers picking up and dropping off passengers are asked to use CLT’s free Kiss and Fly Lot off Harlee Avenue. The new lot allows drivers to avoid terminal area roadways, which can become congested during peak times (click here for a map to the lot).
Other options available to drivers picking up passengers include using one of two Cell Phone lots or at the Overlook. Both Cell Phone lots are located off Rental Car Road. The Overlook is located on Airport Overlook Drive off Old Dowd Road and is open from 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. daily. On Thursday, December 19, however, it will open at noon. 
Other useful tips to help passengers prepare and plan ahead for their trip are listed below:
  • All parking facilities operate on a first come, first served basis.
  • Expect holiday travel congestion, build extra time to get to the Airport, park and go through security.
  • Contact airlines prior to travel for assistance carts, wheelchairs and passenger loading lifts.
  • All parking facilities are handicap accessible with accessible shuttles running continuously.
  • Navigating to the terminal can be more challenging due to active construction. Click here to go to the Maps and Directions web page to find recommended alternate routes.
  • Pay attention to, and follow, CLT's dynamic roadway signs. They're strategically located with information on which lots are open or closed and how to navigate accordingly.
  • When parking, keep your parking ticket with you.
    • Remember where you've parked by writing down the bus shelter or row nearest your vehicle.
    • Upon returning to CLT, prepay parking tickets at a yellow Pay&Go machine.
      Two Pay&Go stations are housed outside the terminal in the shuttle bus lane at the Baggage Claim level and four are located at the Daily Decks’ shuttle bus stop.
  • Visit (or call 704-359-5555) to check real-time parking conditions. In addition to providing real-time parking status, click onto a parking option to receive directions directly to that deck or lot.
  • Click here to review all holiday travel tips.
Passengers should also consider other alternatives to arrive at that Airport, including carpooling, catching a ride to the terminal, taking a taxi or riding the CATS Sprinter bus (Route 5 – Airport).
To accommodate holiday travel demands, CLT has reopened previously closed roads, strategically positioned traffic control officers in front of the terminal and at other locations, added more shuttle buses into rotation and has additional Aviation Department, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airline staff in the ticketing lobby to assist customers.
Holiday Travel Tips:
  • Do not wrap gifts or presents and ensure liquids follow TSA's 3-1-1 format. Click here to view TSA's website.
  • Drivers picking up passengers are encouraged to utilize the free Kiss and Fly Lot, Airport Overlook or one of the two Cell Phone Lots. They can also take advantage of short term parking in all of the parking lots and garages (excluding Business and Curbside Valet). Free for the first 20 minutes, visitors can choose to park and help their arriving parties to the terminal or to pick them up in person.
  • Obtain specific information about Charlotte Douglas International Airport while on-the-go by visiting or calling the Airport’s automated phone information line at 704-359-4910.
Departing Passenger Tips:
  • Passengers are advised to arrive early for their flights. When traveling with young children, infants, elderly or disabled passengers, allow even more time.
  • Save time by printing boarding passes at home or use mobile boarding passes.
  • Check with your airline for updated flight information, as well as baggage size and weight rules. Additional fees could be applicable.