North Carolina

Christmas Travel Rush Begins Thursday At Charlotte Douglas Airport

CHARLOTTE, NC — The Christmas Journey begins Thursday at CLT. The airport expects large crowds for the remainder of December through Monday, January 2nd. In fact, the only slow days are expected to be Saturday, December 24 (Christmas Eve), Sunday, December 25 (Christmas Day), and Saturday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve).

On peak days, CLT will welcome approximately 71,000 passengers per day. For comparison: on a normal day, the airport serves around 66,000 passengers a day. There will be additional staff in departures/ticketing and curbside to assist customers.

Passengers should:

  • Be prepared for long lines at ticket counters and security checkpoints. Estimated TSA security wait times can be viewed on CLT’s website ( or in the app (download from App Store or Google Play).
  • plan ahead. Arrive at least two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international trip.
  • Sign up for TSA PreCheck® at
  • Visit the airport app or to book parking online at the best rates. Same-day booking is limited for all products and must be made at least three hours in advance.
  • Get dropped off at CLT or find alternative transportation to the terminal.

Parking spaces will be in high demand from Sunday 18 December to Monday 2 January for CLT’s more than 21,000 public parking spaces. Drive-on parking will be available. View CLT’s real-time parking map or call 704.359.5555 for the latest parking conditions. Drivers picking up passengers should use CLT’s free cell phone parking lot on Josh Birmingham Parkway.

Please note: All airport parking only accepts credit cards. Cashiers are not available at exit tollbooths. Cash is only accepted at CLT Pay&Go stations in the Hourly Deck.

Airport traffic will be busiest on Thursday 22nd December, Friday 23rd December and Monday 2nd January.

For passengers who haven’t been to the airport recently, approximately 90,000 square feet of the west side of the terminal lobby extension opened in July. When entering the upper or lower level of the terminal on the west side, ticket counters, security checkpoints and baggage carousels are not immediately visible. Signage has been installed to point customers in the right direction.

Stay connected to the airport. Follow @CLTairport on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. Get the latest airport news at or sign up to receive CLT’s electronic newsletters at Also remember to download the free all-in-one CLT Airport app from the App Store or Google Play.

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