Insider's Guide to CLT

Edited by Blake Miller
By Bridget Herman, Jarvis Holliday, and Allie Smolan

Charlotte Douglas International AirportBetween the ever-changing security rules, airline bag charges, and serious delays, flying anywhere, let alone out of one of the country's largest airports (ahem, Charlotte-Douglas boasts the most daily domestic flights of any U.S. airport), can be exhausting. But it doesn't have to be that bad. Really. This new world airport guide will help you navigate not only the 1.7 million square feet of CLT, but also make traveling more manageable and, yes, less horrid. Sign up for wine tastings, peruse the art collections, chill out in one of those white rocking chairs, or simply people watch -- whatever it is, here's how, when, and where to do it all this holiday season and anytime you travel.

Park It
If you've ever looked for a parking space on a Friday afternoon at CLT, you also know there aren't many…anywhere. Here's a quick guide to snagging a parking spot without engaging in any road rage

Taking Care of Business
Sure, there's free Wi-Fi throughout the entire airport. (Quick note: it's not the fastest Wi-Fi, so don't expect to watch the recent episode of The Office while chilling out at your gate.) But if you don't own a laptop and gotta check your eBay bid, the Duke-UNC score, work e-mail, or whatever, here are five other reasons it's worth heading to the Bank of America Business Center in The Atrium.

Peaceful Refuge
Military personnel and their families relax away from the whirlwind

Airport Food
You'll likely get hungry traveling (especially since you know you won't nab a bag of peanuts on flights anymore). Check out these six culinary hot spots

It's in the Details
Your delay is four hours long and you have nothing to do but watch CNN at your gate or stalk an open rocking chair in The Atrium. We say take a walk and get acquainted with these cool airport spots

You Lost It... And Won't Ever Find It
Between a mind-numbing flight delay and booking it from terminal A to E for a connection (sigh), it's no wonder travelers accidentally leave behind iPods, handbags, and even chainsaws. One hundred and twenty items were turned into CLT's lost-and-found in September alone. Here's a look at the most common (and absurd) items you'll find there and what happens when no one comes back for them

A Flight Attendant Says What It's Really Like to Fly
Catherine Aumack has been a flight attendant with US Airways for ten years and she's seen many changes during that time

Fly Time
If you're flying out of CLT, more than half the time you’re jetting out on US Airways. But is bigger always better? Here’s a breakdown of on-time percentage and fees for the airport’s four largest carriers

Traveler's Tips

A TSA Rep Tells All
Jon Allen, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, explains why you should be more understanding when flying this holiday season…or ever

Spend Your $ Here
From last-minute holiday gifts to window shopping airport-style, here are five shops worth popping into between flights

On the Docket
Things are a'changing at the airport. For better or worse. Here's a look at the former.

Categories: Feature