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CLT: Expect Large Crowds for Thanksgiving Travel

by | Nov 22, 2021

A photo taken Monday, November 22 at CLT – provided by CLT media room.


Customers should plan for long lines at TSA checkpoints, ticket counters and restaurants. 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 this week. After Thanksgiving, the busiest days will be Saturday, Nov. 27, Sunday, Nov. 28 and Monday, Nov. 29 with 30,000 to 34,000 daily customers starting their return flight home from Charlotte Douglas.

As American Airlines’ second-largest hub, CLT also averages 50,000 daily passengers traveling through the Airport. Charlotte Douglas continues to be on the road to recovery from dramatic drops in passenger numbers due to the pandemic. Currently, the Airport is at 84% of 2019 passenger numbers.

Due to the high traffic during the holidays, travelers should arrive at the Airport at least two hours before their departure time. Security wait times are listed on CLT’s website and app. The Airport will have extra staff in the ticket lobby and on the curbside to assist passengers.

All parking products are available on a first-come, first-served basis. CLT has over 21,000 parking spaces. For the best rates, use the CLT Airport app or visit to book parking online. Same-day booking is limited for all products and must be made a minimum of 12 hours in advance. Be sure to check parking availability on the CLT real-time parking map to hear the latest parking conditions.

Drivers are encouraged to use the Hourly Deck for picking up and dropping off passengers. It’s steps from the terminal, helps alleviate traffic on the curbside, and the first hour is free. Another option is to use the Cell Phone Lot located off Josh Birmingham Parkway.

Construction on the Terminal Lobby Expansion continues. Please follow the posted signage. Construction in recent months has moved to the east side (near Checkpoint E) resulting in the closing of Door 3 on the Ticketing level and in Baggage Claim. The center door and Doors 1 and 5 on the Ticketing Level are open as well are the center door and Door 1 in Baggage Claim. The expansion project is the largest in Airport history and will add 366,000 square feet of new and renovated lobby space to the terminal by 2025.

CLT Thanksgiving Travel Things to Know

Face Coverings Are Required

Masks are required in the terminal, parking lots/decks and on shuttle buses. All airlines at CLT also require passengers to wear a mask. Free masks are available to anyone who needs one at security checkpoint podiums and at the Visitor Info Center on the terminal’s lower level.


In time for the Thanksgiving holiday, PZA (Concourse E) and Brookwood Farms BBQ (Atrium) will offer a traditional Thanksgiving meal consisting of turkey, gravy, mash potatoes, green beans and stuffing on Thanksgiving Day, but get there early. These locations will close at 5 p.m.

Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program 

CLT has partnered with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower organization to provide its program at the terminal. The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program allows passengers with hidden disabilities, such as autism, chronic pain, anxiety, visual/hearing impairment and dementia, the opportunity to discretely get additional support whether that be additional time, help or understanding by wearing a Hidden Disabilities sunflower accessory, such as a ribbon, lanyard or bracelet. Hidden Disabilities Sunflower accessories are available at the Airport Services Desk (Ticketing), Visitor Info Center (Baggage Claim), USO Lounge (Atrium-Mezzanine Level) and the Airport Chapel (Atrium – Mezzanine Level).

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