Dec 7, 2023 - News

Charlotte Douglas International Airport: Hours of operation

A closed airport checkpoint around 12:40am during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

A closed airport checkpoint around 12:40am during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

While Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s lobby is open 24/7, ticket counters and checkpoints close up for the day.

  • “No ticket is required at any time in the public areas (pre-security), an airport spokesperson told Axios via email.

Why it matters: Sometimes, for whatever reason, travelers get to the airport after ticket counters and security checkpoints have closed. This ultimately can prevent them from catching their flight.

  • Nearly 48 million passengers traveled through Charlotte Douglas in 2022 and airport officials only expect traffic to get busier. 

Details: TSA tries to wait until the last flight clears before closing the last checkpoint, TSA spokesperson Mark Howell tells Axios. If a flight is delayed, and that has been communicated to TSA, security will remain open until that flight has closed.

  • “If you get there after the checkpoint has closed, you’re going to have to get in contact with the airline to rebook your flight,” Howell says.

Charlotte has five security checkpoints, which are in the process of being consolidated into three checkpoints with updated technology. Checkpoint 1, which recently reopened after being closed for months of renovations, stays open the latest:

  • Checkpoint A is open intermittently. It offers standard screening, meaning your usual passengers who don’t have TSA PreCheck.
  • Checkpoint 1 is open from 3:30am – 10:45pm. It has standard and special assistance screening (think strollers and wheelchairs).
  • Checkpoint C is open from 3:30am – 9:15pm. Head here if you have TSA PreCheck or if you’re an employee.
  • Checkpoint D is currently closed for renovations.
  • Checkpoint E is open from 5:15am – 9:30pm. Head here for standard or special assistance screening.
  • You can check security wait times and checkpoint hours here.

By the numbers: Fifteen airlines fly out of Charlotte and American Airlines accounts for roughly 90% of those flights, per an American Airlines spokesperson. Charlotte is American Airlines’ second-largest hub behind Dallas.

American Airlines’ ticket counter is open from 4:15am – 10:30pm. Their goal is to be open two hours before their first flight of the day and until the last customer in line has been assisted for the final flight of the day.

  • You can check in online or on the airlines’ app 24 hours before your flight and up to 45 minutes before a domestic flight (90 for an international flight).
  • You must arrive at least 45 minutes before a domestic flight to check your bags or check in at the airport and at least an hour for an international flight.
  • If you run into an issue at Charlotte Douglas, you can call the airline at 800-433-7300 for English and 800-633-3711 for Spanish. Both lines are available 24/7. Other language options can be found here. You can also use the “chat with us” feature on the app under “contact American” at the bottom of the Home Screen.

Of note: Security and ticket counter hours are subject to change.

Zoom out: Nov. 26 was Charlotte’s third busiest day ever for front door traffic, meaning passengers who went through security at the airport, with 39,172 passengers screened, Howell says.

  • Nine of the airport’s 10 busiest days ever have been this year, per Howell. Charlotte’s record for front door traffic is 41,175, which was set on Aug. 2, 2019. The second highest was 40,000 on June 20, 2023.

The bottom line: Things are only going to get busier at Charlotte Douglas. Get to the airport with plenty of time before your flight, especially if traffic just to get to the terminal was anything like it was during Thanksgiving.

The 15-foot Queen Charlotte statue. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
The Queen Charlotte statue. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
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