Dec 13, 2023 - Things to Do

4 things to know before you head to Charlotte Douglas International Airport for holiday travel

Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Holiday travel officially begins tomorrow, Dec. 14, at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

  • It runs through Wednesday, Jan. 3.

By the numbers: Roughly 1.6 million total passengers will depart from Charlotte, per the airport. That’s a 13% increase from last year and 9% above 2019.

Why it matters: The airport’s numbers aren’t just up for holiday travel, they’re sky-high for the year as a whole, surpassing record-breaking 2019 by 6% for total annual traffic, per the airport.

Of note: Traffic getting to departures and arrivals during Thanksgiving travel was abysmal. To help speed things up, the airport will:

  • Re-route portions of their shuttle bus system to reduce roadway traffic congestion.
  • Reallocate staff along the terminal curb front.

Airport officials also recommend:

  • Using the airport’s free cell phone lot next to long-term lot 1 when waiting to pick up passengers to help reduce congestion.
  • Waiting 20-30 minutes after the plane lands before driving to the terminal to pick someone up.

Here are four things to know before you head to the airport:

1. Checkpoint 1 is now open.

The airport is in the process of consolidating its five checkpoints to three, which will be known as checkpoints 1, 2 and 3 rather than A through E. The renovated checkpoints will include improved technology to help speed up getting passengers through security.

  • Find security wait times here.

2. Checkpoint D closed.

It will reopen as Checkpoint 2. Checkpoint C, which will ultimately become part of Checkpoint 2, is still open for TSA PreCheck.

3. Drive-up parking rates increased this month to the following: 

  • Hourly deck: $8 per hour ($32 per day).
  • Express deck preferred: $24.
  • Express deck self-park: $20.
  • Daily North: $14.
  • Daily decks: $20.
  • Long Term Lots 1&2: $12.

The airport cited local passenger growth and “the significant investment in the passenger parking program including the expansion of parking facilities” as the reason for the jump in pricing.

Be smart: Reserve a parking spot at parkCLT.com or on the airport’s app.

4. You can get food before going through security at Queen Charlotte’s Kitchen near baggage claim.

Queens Charlotte’s Kitchen opened in October. It’s near the Queen Charlotte statue and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, wine, beer and cocktails and Charlotte-based Pure Intentions Coffee.

This is the airport's first pre-security restaurant. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
This is the airport’s first pre-security restaurant. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Go deeper: Charlotte Douglas International Airport: Hours of operation

Editor’s note: This story was first published on Nov. 17 and was updated on Dec. 13 to include winter holiday travel.

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