Charlotte Douglas International Airport is the sixth most busy airport in the United States, having served 44.8 passengers in 2015 alone. It’s also American Airlines’ second-largest hub. CLT is busy any time of year, but the holidays are particularly chaotic.
If you plan to travel this holiday season, you can bet you’re not the only one. But a little research goes a long way. Take time to study up on CLT, and you’ll be able to make your holiday travel experience a more enjoyable one. These tips will have you breezing through the terminals stress-free.
Choose Your Security Checkpoint
Standing in line for security can be downright dreadful, so it helps to know the Transportation Security Administration’s guidelines to ease the process. CLT has five security checkpoints, and their hours vary. Once these checkpoints are closed, security personnel will not let any other passengers through.
- A Checkpoint (Standard): 4 a.m. – 7:45 p.m.
- B Checkpoint (Standard, Main TSA Precheck): 4:30 a.m. – 8:15 p.m.
- C Checkpoint (Standard, Flex Lanes): 5:30 a.m. – 9:15 p.m.
- D Checkpoint (Main TSA Precheck, Preferred): 4 a.m. – 10:45 p.m.
- E Checkpoint (Standard): Mon-Fri, 6 a.m. – 9:45 p.m. | Sat-Sun, 6:30 a.m. – 10:15 p.m.
Which brings us to our next tip…
Of course, you want to arrive at the airport early anytime of year, but during the holidays, you can expect even larger crowds and longer lines. Arrive at least 2 hours early to allow plenty of time for everyone to make it through security with more than enough time to board your flight. Allow for even more time if you’re traveling with children, infants, elderly, or disabled passengers.
When you’re packing for your trip, keep the TSA’s guidelines in mind. If you plan to travel with a carry-on, make sure you pack following the TSA’s 3-1-1 format. That is, any liquids you pack must be in a 3.4-ounce (100 milliliters) container or smaller, which must be sealed in one quart-sized resealable bag, and only one bag is permitted per passenger.
The only exceptions to this rule include baby food, formula, or other items needed for medical purposes. You can still travel with containers larger than 3.4 ounces, regardless of the amount inside; they just have to be stored inside checked baggage.
If you plan to travel with gifts, wait until you’ve reached your destination before wrapping them. Security is required to check all packages, so you’d wind up having to wrap it twice. Wrapping presents once is enough of a struggle, right?
Going through airport security is often the most stressful part of any trip, especially if you’re traveling with a lot of luggage or have children in tow. Take the time to check out Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s website for further information to ease the process and make your travels as enjoyable as possible.
*Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in 2014. However, it has since been updated to reflect the most current information.