‘It’s going to be a very busy place’: CLT officials offer travel tips ahead of Thanksgiving travel period

To make the holiday travel process as smooth as possible, airport officials have some helpful tips that could relieve some travel stress.
Airport officials shared operation information and additional travel tips for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday during a briefing Tuesday morning.
Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 6:28 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2021 at 2:23 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As the holiday season approaches, many could find themselves out at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

To make the holiday travel process as smooth as possible, airport officials have some helpful tips that could relieve some travel stress.

Airport officials said the peak travel day is expected to be the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Last November, the airport debuted a new parking tool that lets customers book parking online at discounted rates before heading to the airport. That is available to use right now.

Passengers can also check wait times at CLT security checkpoints ahead of time using the airport’s website and app.

Also, Uber rolled out a new feature last month that lets airport travelers book rides up to 30 days in advance and share flight information with drivers.

Airport officials shared operation information and additional travel tips for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday during a briefing Tuesday morning.

According to Jack Christine, CLT’s chief operating officer, the peak day at CLT is estimated to be the Sunday after Thanksgiving, with roughly 35,000 travelers coming through.

Christine said that is a large increase compared to the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday period, which was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘It’s going to be a very busy place’: CLT officials offer travel tips ahead of Thanksgiving travel period

In 2019, travelers coming through the airport the Sunday after Thanksgiving was around 38,000, according to Christine.

‘It’s going to be a very busy place,” he said.

Travelers should also expect long lines and are being asked to “pack your patience.”

Over the Thanksgiving travel period, which begins this weekend, AAA predicts 4.2 million air travelers nationally compared to 2.3 million in 2020.

Customers should plan for long lines at TSA checkpoints, ticket counters and restaurants, CLT officials said.

For the approximate 30,000 to 31,000 daily passengers beginning their trip at CLT, Tuesday, Nov. 23, and Wednesday, Nov. 24 will be the busiest days next week.

After Thanksgiving, the busiest days will be Saturday, Nov. 27, Sunday, Nov. 28, and Monday, Nov. 29 with 30,000 to 35,000 daily customers starting their return flight home from Charlotte Douglas, according to airport staff.

Due to the high traffic during the holidays, travelers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before their departure time.

Construction continues on the terminal lobby expansion and travelers are asked to follow the posted signage. Construction in recent months has moved to the east side - near Checkpoint E - resulting in the closing of door three on the ticketing level and in baggage claim, according to airport staff. The center door and doors one and five on the ticketing level are open, as well are the center door and door one in baggage claim.

The expansion project will add 366,000 square feet of new and renovated lobby space to the terminal by 2025, CLT officials said.