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Parking at Charlotte Douglas
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CLT Airport has invested heavily in recent years on expanding the number of parking spaces and now has around 20,000 available on-site. It offers a typical range of pricing structures as well as tire inflation, battery jump starts and electric vehicle charging. Business passengers can further benefit from a specific business valet parking service.
For quick drop-offs, you should head to the signposted areas outside the terminal building, but if you're waiting around for an arrival or want to park up to see someone off properly, there are a couple of additional choices.
Short-term hourly parking on levels 4-7 of the garage immediately opposite the terminal is charged in 30 minute increments. Alternatively, if you can stay with your vehicle, the cell phone lot is free whilst you wait for a call from your passengers.
The main parking garage opposite the terminal offers short-term hourly parking only; the lower levels are used by the rental car companies, so hourly parking is available on levels 4-7 and is charged at a half-hourly rate. Conveniently close to the terminal, hourly parking is intended for people dropping off passengers, but can also be used if you're going on a short business trip or weekend break.
Two more garages offering covered, daily parking sit just beyond the main garage. They are only a couple of minutes’ walk from the terminal; they also offer free shuttle buses for the journey.
Several long-term parking lots are located just beyond the daily parking garages, with economy rate charges ideally suited to anyone going away for a week or more. All of these lots have complimentary shuttle buses running to the terminal building.
There are two valet parking services available at the on-site lots. A business valet is found just inside the main road entrance; business customers can drop their car off and take a free shuttle to the terminal while the valet team takes care of the parking. There are many add-on services available, such as car washes and general maintenance work.
There is also a curbside valet parking service that means any passenger can drop their car off with a valet driver immediately outside the terminal and get on with their journey. The valet team will also have your car waiting for you outside arrivals when you get back.
According to the airport, the on-site parking lots and garages rarely fill up, but that doesn't guarantee you a convenient space every time. Several off-site parking options allow for advanced booking and reservations; you can compare some of those available at Charlotte-Douglas Airport here at Looking4.com.
Park and Ride services are the most common off-site option, whereby you self-park at a lot a few miles from the airport and take a free shuttle bus to the terminal itself. Many off-site lots also provide a curbside valet service identical to the airport service - the difference being that your car is parked off-site at a secure parking lot while you're away.
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) is a combined military and civil aviation airport in North Carolina. Ranked by passenger traffic and aircraft movements, it is one of the six largest airports in the USA, carrying around 45 million passengers every year to destinations in Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean.
American Airlines has made CLT Airport its second-largest hub, flying 25 million people to over 150 domestic and international destinations; Delta and Southwest are also amongst the busiest airlines at the airport. The military aspect of Charlotte Airport is the Charlotte Air National Guard Base, which supports a range of operations, including humanitarian and disaster-relief missions.
CLT is going through the largest phase of expansion in its history, adding concourses, food courts, terminals, runways and airport parking services and facilities. This is all designed to cope with the rapid expansion of passenger numbers over the past decade, which has almost doubled since the early 2000s.
CLT Airport is located about eight miles (12.9 kilometers) to the west of central Charlotte, close to the intersection of the I-85 and I-485 roads. It is suitably located to serve passengers from across the North and South Carolina region, including Rock Hill, Greenville, Gastonia, Asheville, Hickory, Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville and Concord.
Public transport connections to the airport are provided by the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS). An express bus service runs every 20 minutes throughout the day from Charlotte Transportation Center in the Uptown area and further connector buses run every 30 minutes from both Northlake and Archdale.
There are no direct train routes to the airport, but you can reach the Charlotte Transportation Center via providers like Amtrak and the LYNX Blue Line and switch to a bus service to reach the airport itself.
Life began for Charlotte-Douglas Airport in 1930 with a $200,000 grant to establish the first municipal airport in the city, which opened in 1936 and welcomed Eastern Air Lines in 1937. Briefly occupied by the US Army Air Force during World War II, when it was known as Morris Field Air Base, it returned to commercial passenger flights by the 1950s as the renamed Douglas Municipal Airport.
Opening a new terminal building in 1954 and subjected to a series of construction projects throughout the 1960s, CLT was on a rapid course of expansion. Eastern Airlines opened a new terminal, Delta moved into a new dedicated terminal and more gates were added to existing terminals. After airline deregulation in the 1970s, passenger numbers accelerated; they doubled in just a few years and led to a new runway, control tower and terminal building on the site.
Non-stop transatlantic flights to London began in 1987 before constant development continued into the 1990s and 2000s. As a result, passenger numbers edged towards 40 million a year. The high-quality service standards that won the airport an Eagle Award from IATA for “Best Airport” are the inspiration behind the continued expansions and improvements to this day.
Around 1.7 million square feet (158,000 square meters) of Charlotte Airport is set aside for food, drink and retail concessions, so there's plenty of choice as you move through it. The airport is constantly expanding and improving on every aspect of passenger experience, so for the most up-to-date listing of available facilities, check on the official website.
A volunteer program is in operation at the airport; look out for the friendly staff in yellow shirts with “Ask me” name tags spread throughout the airport. They can answer your questions and help you find your way if you're lost.
If you have any specific requests or questions in advance of traveling, contact CLT Airport customer services on (+1) 704-359-4013.
Parking at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport is possible at many of the hotels local to it. Chains and budget providers like Microtel, Ramada, Sheraton, Motel 6 and Quality Inn all offer parking packages to Charlotte-Douglas passengers.
They vary from hotel to hotel, but most allow for two weeks of free parking in the lot for anyone staying at least one night in a room either at the start or end of their trip. Some of the packages offer as much as three weeks of free parking, which could represent a considerable cost-saving when compared to many of the on-site options if you're away for a while.
If you have an early-morning departure or a late-night arrival, the hotel and parking packages are all supported by free shuttle bus services to and from the airport terminal and most of them allow for cancelations if your plans change.
CLT Airport’s eateries offer a diverse range of cuisines from around the world, whether you want to grab it on the move or sit down and take your time.
The best dining options are in the main atrium of the terminal pre-security and in Concourses C and D, which are where most flights are run by United Airlines.
Some of the best sustenance comes from 1897 Market, which includes North Carolina-inspired food and a cocktail bar, and Beaudevin, with its packed wine list and charcuterie small plates (both of these are in the main atrium).
Bad Daddy's Burger Bar in Concourse C turns out delicious burgers, Concourse D's Carolina Beer Company offers pub food and the best of the local craft beers on tap and Concourse E’s PZA serves out-of-this-world pizza and other Italian food.
There are more than 20 major pieces of art in the Charlotte-Douglas Airport art program. Many of them are large-scale and site-specific sculptures created in both traditional and contemporary styles.
A bronze figure of airport namesake Queen Charlotte, a 60-foot (18.3-meter) tall abstract glass and steel sculpture celebrating flight and a 20-ton (18,143-kilogram) tree-like steel piece are some of the more striking pieces at CLT.
There are also murals, paintings and kinetic sculptures to be seen around the various public areas of the airport. Art fans will be pleased to know that part of the budget for current renovations at CLT are going towards expanding the art program.
The CLT Canine Crew is a team of volunteer therapy dogs who work at the airport on a regular basis.
The relatively new addition to CLT helps passengers stay relaxed for their journey and is identified by their “Pet me” vests.
All members of the team are qualified therapy dogs that also work in places like hospitals and schools in the area. From little terriers to big German Shepherds, they all love to meet new people and make new friends. They are, of course, accompanied by their human handlers, who can also assist with directions and answering questions as members of the CLT volunteer team.
Sometimes the most stressful thing about traveling is having to wait for flights in noisy environments, but there are a couple of ways to get away from that at CLT.
The XpresSpa and Terminal Getaway Spa both provide a range of simple treatments varying from a simple 15-minute neck and shoulder massage to manicures and pedicures, which are perfect for a quick visit.
If you have a long flight delay or layover, curbing the tension can be achieved by purchasing a day membership for one of the American Airlines lounges. A single price provides you with a comfortable members lounge, complimentary snacks and drinks, TV and WiFi – what more could you want whilst you wait for a flight?
It's easy to forget to pack something when you're rushing to get away. That’s exactly why the retail options at CLT are there to provide plenty of opportunity to sort travel essentials or pick up souvenirs.
You’ll find everything from clothing at Brooks Brothers or Johnston & Murphy, cosmetics by MAC and Body Shop, luggage from Brookstone and jewelry and accessories from Brighton, Erwin Pearl, Pandora and Taxco Sterling.
Discovery Place Science is a state-of-the-art science and technology museum packed with interactive exhibits, experiments, activities and an IMAX Dome Theater.
It’s a great way to fill a few hours with an excellent on-site food court and regular special events, exhibitions, films and performances – all just 10 miles (16 kilometers) from CLT.
A diverse range of subjects, intelligent presentation and a proud and helpful team combine to make this an ideal day out with the kids.
Discover Place Nature can also be found close to Freedom Park in Charlotte.
The 400-acre (161.9-hectare) Carowinds is a modern amusement park about 15 miles (24.1 kilometers) from Charlotte-Douglas Airport.
Inspired by Disneyland, the park has about 40 major rides and attractions laid out across seven themed areas and a separate water park (your tickets apply to this area, too).
From rollercoasters, hypercoasters and river rafting to bumper cars, swing rides and carousels, there's something for everyone there. The park is regularly used for music concerts and other live events, including the Carowinds Festival of Music and Scarowinds, a Halloween celebration with specially themed rides and attractions.
Created as the gardens to a private home, the Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary are a quiet and green getaway space from the city, whilst simultaneously serving as a wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Foundation.
Over 150 species of birds have been spotted in the garden sanctuary, which doesn't rely on caged aviaries; the birds are wild and choose to visit the gardens themselves.
Surrounding a seven-acre (2.8-hectare) lake just outside the center of Charlotte, Freedom Park is a much-loved green space with trails, sports fields, playgrounds, regular free musical performances in summer and an annual festival at the end of summer.
The park, which is about nine miles (14.5 kilometers) from Charlotte-Douglas Airport, is full of beautiful views, quiet places to relax and great places to eat. You can also hire a bike if you want to do something a bit more energetic.
An essential visit for racing fans just nine miles (14.5 kilometers) from CLT Airport, the NASCAR Hall of Fame honors the best of the best drivers, crew chiefs and owners from the sport in a state closely tied to it.
The building houses a screening room that runs movies including a primer video for first-time visitors and there’s an outdoor plaza with driving simulators, exhibition spaces, the Hall of Honor itself and a banked ramp displaying famous cars.
With in-depth profiles of inductees and extensive displays on the vehicles, the tracks and the development of the sport, this is an engaging and entertaining museum visit like no other.
The main building of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center houses three theater spaces of different sizes, as well as incorporating three more other nearby buildings.
The 2,000-seat Belk Theater is designed in a horseshoe shape for impeccable acoustics, fitted with the best in theater equipment and fit to stage everything from grand operas to corporate lectures.
Touring Broadway shows often grace the stage and there is a strong program of work by resident companies including Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Community School of the Arts, North Carolina Dance Factory, Charlotte Shakespeare, Opera Carolina and The Light Factory.
Charlotte-Douglas Airport is about eight miles (12.9 kilometers) from the BB&T, home to the Charlotte Knights of the Triple-A Minor International League.
Opening in 2014, the BB&T replaced Knights Stadium because game attendances there were heavily influenced by the fact that it was so far out of town.
The new park has a genuinely major league feel to it, with great sight lines, stunning views of the city, fireworks after Friday-night games and a huge range of food at prices well below those you find in the major leagues.
Befitting to its name, Carolinas Aviation Museum is actually on the grounds of CLT Airport only a three-mile (five-kilometer) drive from the terminals.
The museum displays a vast collection of memorabilia relating to US Airways, plus photographic collections and artefacts from the history of flight, a 9,000-volume library and a collection of over 50 aircraft.
One of the stars of the collection is an Airbus A320, Flight 1549 of the “miracle on the Hudson”. Most of the collection, though, is dedicated to military planes from the Cold War era, including examples manufactured by Boeing, Douglas, Grumman, Sikorsky and several Wright Brothers reproductions.
Charlotte-Douglas is a major airport, but the flight schedules are dominated by American Airlines, so a relatively small number of airline carriers operate there.
With just one terminal building with a simple layout, it's easy to find your way around; American uses Concourses B, C, D and E, whilst almost everyone else uses Concourse A. The sole exception is Lufthansa, which also flies in and out of Concourse D.
If you have any trouble finding your way to the right area, look out for the official CLT Airport volunteers dressed in yellow shirts; they know the airport inside-out and can quickly point you in the right direction. General customer services can be called on (+1) 704-359-4013 if you have any advance inquiries before your time of travel.
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Charlotte-Douglas Airport is in the NC 28208 ZIP code area on RC Josh Birmingham Parkway, just an eight-mile (12.9-kilometer) drive from downtown Charlotte.
A cleverly organized road system in the region means that the I-75 and I-85 converge from all directions in the city of Charlotte itself and both intersect with the I-485, which is a loop road around the whole city. Charlotte-Douglas Airport is based close to the intersection with direct access from the Interstate road.
If you don't want to drive your own car, most of the major rental companies have spaces at the airport. Taxis, Uber and Lyft can all drop off at the terminal and there are numerous shared-ride shuttle and limousine companies operating there (a list of them can be found on the CLT Airport Website).
The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) provides the only direct bus routes to the CLT Airport terminal, with three line options running from different parts of the city. The primary Airport Sprinter runs from the Charlotte Transportation Center to CLT in about 30 minutes, with buses running every 20 minutes.
Connector buses also run to CLT direct from Northlake Mall to the north of central Charlotte and from the LYNX Archdale Station to the south of the city; both services run roughly every 30 minutes.
From outside the Charlotte area, Greyhound buses run to Charlotte Bus Station, where you can easily connect to the CATS airport bus service.
There are very limited train services anywhere in Charlotte and none calling directly at the airport. A light rail system, the LYNX Blue Line, connects the south of the city with downtown and you can transfer to a CATS bus service at the Charlotte Transportation Center.
Amtrak runs national services to Charlotte Station, where you can connect to the CATS bus network and get onto the airport bus at Charlotte Transportation Center, which is just a couple of minutes away from the train station.
Charlotte is infamously snowy in winter months, which is an inevitable cause of regular flight delays. The airport has invested heavily in measures to clear snow and ensure safety, but you should always check weather reports and flight updates for any delays ahead of your journey.
Queues are rarely long at Charlotte-Douglas Airport, but it can get busy Sunday evening and Monday morning. If you arrive at a time when there are long lines at your security checkpoint, there is a simple workaround; beyond security, all the concourses are linked together, so even if you're flying from Concourse A, you can go through security at Concourse E if that has a shorter queue and find your way back to A afterwards.
Of course, the dogs aren't very good at answering questions themselves, but their handlers are trained just the same as other airport volunteers to provide passengers with directions and answer a range of questions, which is a great excuse for you to get more time with their dog.
Unlike some larger airports, Charlotte-Douglas closes airside overnight. It is possible to stay landside overnight, but it isn't very comfortable and nearly all concessions close, too.
In the event of long delays, the airport provides sleeping cots and late-night opening of restaurants and coffee shops. If you want to stay at the airport to see through a layover or to be there for an early-morning departure, consider one of the local hotels that offer free shuttle buses to and from the terminal.
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport is based on the west edge of Charlotte in North Carolina, close to the I-485 loop road that surrounds the city. The city itself lies in the western half of North Carolina, just a little way across the state line with South Carolina in the South of the USA. It is placed well for much of the south east, with popular routes to Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Dallas and Newark.
Snow is common in Charlotte through winter, so CLT has invested heavily in equipment to fight any snowstorms. De-icers, pre-treatments of runways and roads, 30-foot (9.1-meter) wide snow plows and equipment to measure surface friction are all deployed by teams working around-the-clock shifts.
In the event of a serious snowfall that causes delays, the airport works to keep customers comfortable by providing cots to sleep in and late-night opening of concessions.
No, smoking is only permitted in designated areas, which are all outside the terminals before you go through security. If you want to go outside to smoke, you’ll have to go through security again to get back in.
CLT is open 24 hours so you can sleep there if you need to, but it is not the most comfortable of airports.
If you choose to sleep there rather than utilizing a nearby hotel, you will be allowed to stay but may find limited places to get a good sleep. Post-security airside closes completely overnight and little other than a coffee shop stays open from the concessions pre-security, so it's best to stock up on snacks before settling down. There are free shuttles to nearby hotels for a better chance of an uninterrupted sleep.
Uber and Lyft are both welcome to pick up and drop off at CLT Airport using the same drop-off areas that are utilized by taxis and the public outside the terminal building.
CLT is one of the largest landowners in the city with over 6,000 acres (2,428.1 hectares) of land, which puts it amongst the 20 largest airports by land area in the world. Much of this space is still to be developed and is earmarked for projects like adding warehousing and office space. By annual passenger numbers, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport handles almost 45 million passengers every year and typically ranks amongst the 10 busiest airports in the USA.
CLT is the IATA code for Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. The IATA airport code (also called the IATA location identifier or station code) is a three-letter system used to standardize abbreviations of airport names worldwide; you will most often notice the code on your baggage tags or on some flight schedules.
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