Charlotte airport prepares for busy travel weekend - what flyers need to know

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 6:06 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Charlotte Douglas International Airport is gearing up for large crowd this holiday weekend.

The airport’s largest crowds will be Thursday, Friday and Monday according to the airport’s media team. Approximately 27,000 to 28,000 travelers will begin their trips at Charlotte Douglas. By comparison, in 2019, the busiest days of travel were roughly 30,000-33,000 travelers.

Because of this, the airport and airlines are recommending travelers get to the airport at least three hours before your flight. They say increased travelers, plus staffing shortages could lead to delays in security checkpoints.

“We had lots of concerns getting our stuff photographed and uploaded for different airlines,” said Catherine, whose final destination with her family was Verona, Italy. She says flying post-pandemic is a whole new ballgame. She’s hoping to avoid the anticipated crowds but isn’t sure if it will be possible.

“I hope not, I’m praying not but we’ll see,” she said.

On Wednesday, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the lines were reasonable. But some flyers say they think it will be worse in the coming days.

“Today is Wednesday. I assumed people would maybe go later in the week,” said Farideh.

Charlotte Douglas says Thursday, Friday and Monday over the 4th of July weekend will be the busiest. They say between 5:30 a.m. - 10 a.m. and 3-6 p.m. are the busiest times for TSA checkpoints.

“You never know with TSA, there’s always something. You never know,” said Farideh.

Many passengers told WBTV News on Wednesday that they got to the airport early so they weren’t stressed.

“Just so you don’t stress out, waiting, or maybe missing your flight , which you don’t want to do,” said Suzanne, who was flying to the Czech Republic.

According to AAA forecasts, 3.5 million people are planning to fly this Independence Day weekend with air travel volumes reaching 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels, a 164 percent increase compared to last year.

Here’s what the CLT airport said about flying this weekend:

Arrive Early -- To prepare for a smoother travel experience, passengers should be in line at a CLT security checkpoint three hours before their departure time. Peak activity for Departures/Ticketing and security checkpoints are 5:30– 10 a.m. and 3–6 p.m.

Rock Your Mask -- Safety measures remain in place at Charlotte Douglas. Per a TSA mandate, all passengers, employees and CLT visitors are required to wear a face mask while at the Airport, even for those who have been fully vaccinated.

Face masks are available upon request at the Airport Visitor Info Center on the Baggage Claim level and at all TSA checkpoint podiums. All airlines serving CLT require passengers to wear a face mask to board a flight as well.

Book Parking Online -- Parking will be in high demand. Passengers are encouraged to reserve parking online for the best parking rates, which will always be cheaper than the drive-up rate. Visit and select the “Book Parking” icon to complete the process or use CLT’s app. It’s free in the Apple Store or from Google Play. Same-day booking is limited for all products and must be made a minimum of six hours in advance.

Remember drive-up parking rates increase July 6 for all lots and decks except Curbside Valet. Click here for more details. Drivers can visit CLT’s real-time parking map or call 704.359.5555 to hear the latest parking conditions. All lots except for the Express Deck (formerly Business Valet) will be open.

Check Security Wait Times -- Be sure to visit CLT’s website ( or app (download at the App Store or on Google Play) to see estimated real-time security wait times at each checkpoint, including Standard and TSA PreCheck® lines. Please note that wait times constantly change and passengers should refresh for updates.

CLT Safety Measures -- Housekeeping and Airport staff diligently continue to clean daily and conduct nightly deep cleanings at the terminal and on buses. Visit the Airport’s COVID-19 Travel Update webpage for additional information regarding CLT’s safety measures.

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