When it comes to air travel (and all the potential problems that come with it), having a short layover in Charlotte is not something to get stressed about.
- Connecting from one domestic flight to another in Charlotte can be done in as little as 35 minutes (I’ve done it).
- Connecting to an international flight from a domestic flight can be done in as little as 45 minutes.
- Connecting from an international flight to a domestic flight can easily be done with a layover time of just a one hour. That’s pushing it, but it’s definitely possible.
Of all the major hub airports in the United States, Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is one of the most compact and efficient. As a matter of fact, it’s the airport I often fantasize about what I’m sprinting through ATL at top speed jumping over families with small children (O.J. Simpson style) in a desperate attempt to catch my next flight.
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The reason why short layovers are ok in Charlotte
The reason why Charlotte is one of the most efficient airports for making short connections in is because of its size. It wasn’t designed to be a major hub airport, therefore, there’s a limit to how many flights it can handle on a daily basis.
This greatly reduces congestion, which makes transiting through the airport much calmer process compared to others.
Also, Compared to other major hub airports (such as Atlanta and Chicago), the terminals at CLT are relatively small. Walking from one end of the terminal to the next can be done in as little as 15 minutes. If you run, it’ll only take 5.
What is the minimum layover for domestic flights in Charlotte?
The minimum layover that I would recommend in Charlotte from one domestic flight to another is 35 minutes. Honestly, you could probably do it in as little as 25, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Only those with nerves of steel should voluntarily attempt something like this.
Just know that if your inbound flight is late, and time is running short, the chances of making your connection are far greater in Charlotte than they are at other hub airports.
What is the minimum layover for international flights in Charlotte?
If I lived in the southeast, I would fly in and out of the Charlotte airport as much as I could for international flights. It’s just so darn easy (and fast) to move through when it comes to international departures and arrivals.
One of the primary reasons for this is that there is no dedicated international terminal at CLT. International flights can (and do) depart from any terminal.
Connecting TO an international flight
Connecting to an international flight from a domestic flight in Charlotte will require a minimum layover of 45 minutes. The only reason why it requires more time than a domestic to domestic connection is due to the fact that (per FAA regulations), you need to be onboard an international flight a little earlier.
Note that you will not have to go through any additional security checks when connecting to an international flight in Charlotte. Just walk to your gate and board the plane.
Connecting FROM an international flight
Connecting from an international flight to a domestic flight in Charlotte will require minimum layover of one hour. The reason why it can be done so quickly is because of the fact that the Charlotte Airport doesn’t process many international flights on any given day. It’s a relatively quick and efficient process to get through passport control and customs.
That being said, I would highly recommend a longer layover if you have the option. I’d want at least two hours to make a no-stress international to domestic connection in Charlotte, but I’ll talk more about that in a moment…
A brief overview of the terminal layout at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport
I really like the Charlotte Airport. It’s large enough to feel like a big international hub, but small enough to walk through relatively quickly.
There are five main terminals at CLT (A, B, C, D, and E). Terminal A is the only one that is broken up into two separate concourses.
All terminals and concourses are connected airside past the security checkpoints. This means that you can walk between all terminals at CLT without having to go through any additional security checks.
Pro tip: since all terminals are accessible from any security checkpoint, you can save a lot of time by choosing the security checkpoint with the shortest line and still access any gate in the airport.
Travel time between all terminals at CLT
The nice thing about the Charlotte Airport is that it’s one of the most walkable in the entire US.
I’ve walked from one end of Terminal A all the way to the tippy-top end of Terminal E in about 10 minutes. Of course, I walk at a very brisk pace, so add a few minutes if your stride (or swagger) is a bit more casual.
For reference, here’s how long it should take the average person to walk between all terminals at the Charlotte airport:
Terminal A (gates A21-29) to:
- Terminal A (gates A1-13): 3 minutes
- Terminal B: 5 minutes
- Terminal C: 7 minutes
- Terminal D: 9 minutes
- Terminal E: 11 minutes
Terminal A (gates A1-13) to:
- Terminal A (gates A21-29): 3 minutes
- Terminal B: 2 minutes
- Terminal C: 4 minutes
- Terminal D: 6 minutes
- Terminal E: 8 minutes
Terminal B to:
- Terminal A (gates A1-13): 2 minutes
- Terminal A (gates A21-29): 5 minutes
- Terminal C: 2 minutes
- Terminal D: 4 minutes
- Terminal E: 6 minutes
Terminal C to:
- Terminal A (gates A1-13): 4 minutes
- Terminal A (gates A21-29): 7 minutes
- Terminal B: 2 minutes
- Terminal D: 2 minutes
- Terminal E: 4 minutes
Terminal D to:
- Terminal A (gates A1-13): 6 minutes
- Terminal A (gates A21-29): 9 minutes
- Terminal B: 4 minutes
- Terminal C: 2 minutes
- Terminal E: 2 minutes
Terminal E to:
- Terminal A (gates A1-13): 8 minutes
- Terminal A (gates A21-29): 11 minutes
- Terminal B: 6 minutes
- Terminal C: 4 minutes
- Terminal D: 2 minutes
How long of a layover do you need in Charlotte for a no-stress connection?
Note: all the connection times that I’ve mentioned so far are a bit on the aggressive side. They are the absolute minimum layover times that I would recommend. That being said, you’re likely to feel a bit stressed trying to achieve those kinds of connection times, so here’s what I recommend for a no-stress layover at CLT:
Domestic to domestic connections
For a completely no-stress domestic to domestic layover, an hour and a half is sufficient at the Charlotte Airport. That’ll easily give you enough time to hit the food court in the central terminal, or to hang out in a lounge if you have access to one.
FYI, an hour and a half is a lot shorter than what I’ve recommended for other airports. For example:
- My ideal amount of time for a short layover in Honolulu is two hours.
- I’d also want two hours for a short layover in Orlando (which is notable since it’s a slightly smaller airport than CLT).
- Depending on which airline I’m flying, 3 hours is my minimum for a no-stress short layover in Detroit.
Domestic to international connections
For me, two hours would be an ideal layover when connecting to an international flight from a domestic flight. There aren’t any additional steps required to make a domestic to international connection in Charlotte, but you will need a little extra time to board the plane a bit early (per FAA regulations).
International to domestic connections
Call me paranoid, but to make a no-stress international to domestic connection at Charlotte, I would want three hours. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t need all of it, but then again, that’s what makes it no-stress. A three hour layover would easily be able to absorb any delays going through customs.
Tips for making really short layovers at Charlotte
The most important thing you didn’t need to know about having a short layover at CLT is that it’s going to be OK. I promise you that.
Honestly, of all the hub airports in the US to have a short connection at, Charlotte just might be at the top of my list for being the easiest and fastest to navigate through. If you’re still feeling a little stressed, here are a few tips based on my own experiences:
- Take advantage of the moving walkways! Walking at a brisk pace on the moving walkways (which are located throughout the entire airport) will easily cut down on the time estimates I’ve given above.
- Don’t waste your time trying to find something to eat in the individual terminals. Your best bet for getting quick and decent food will be in the central terminal.
- It’s always a good idea to study the terminal map of the airport before you arrive. This way, you’ll have a very good sense of where you need to go once you arrive (so you can hit the ground running).
And finally, if you’re flying American Airlines, you have even less to worry about. Since the Charlotte Airport is an American Airlines hub, missing your connecting flight is hardly ever a big deal.
They’ll automatically put you on the next one, and given the high frequency of flights in and out of CLT on a daily basis, chances are pretty good you won’t have to wait long.
The best food I’ve found at CLT is the Panera in Terminal A. It’s a farther walk but Terminal A is usually deserted and seems to have been renovated more recently. Terminal E, where the American Eagle flights operate out of, is considerably less nice.
I agree about that Panera! It’s definitely worth the walk if your layover is long enough.
I used to live in the CLT region, and I can tell you from experience that the single terminal and liberal use of moving walkways makes getting anywhere at CLT a breeze. The central terminal does get a bit hectic since security dumps you right into the middle of it, but once you’re in the concourses it’s simple.
Quick tip for any other CLT travelers: security checkpoint E is often the least busy one, people think that they MUST use the checkpoint that correlates to their concourse, but in reality they all take you to the same central concourse.
Thanks for that extra tip Kelly! Just another reason why CLT is so easy to fly in and out of (and make connections at).
Want to fly from Munich to Orlando via Charlotte in November and have 3 options for layover time:
1. 1 h 30 min.
2. 2h 30 min.
3. 3 h 30 min.
Which is the best option, because I will stay at Walt Disney World, but won´t be able to get into the parks on day one, because I will arrive in the evening at Orlando Airport and than have to get to my hotel, too, which would take another 1 hour or more.
Good thing is that you make immigration at Charlotte Airport and can pick up your baggage in Orlando and go straight to the bus to the former Disney Magical Express area. Have to book that beforehand, but they need the flight number and arrival time first.
So I want to ask which option you would choose for a relaxed layover.
Personally, I would go for the 2h and 30 minute layover. However – if you don’t mind the possibility of having to wait around for a while, the 3 hour and 30 minute layover will make it completely stress free. Have a good trip!
Is an hour connection in CLT to an international flight still doable?
Should be pretty easy. All gates are connected behind security at CLT, and you won’t have to go through any additional security checks. It’s just a matter of walking from one flight to the next.
So I have a flight booked in January, it’s to St Lucia and our connecting airport in CLT. The layover was originally 45 minutes but of course they changed our flight info so now it’s only 35 minutes, and I’m not sure if St Lucia is considered international or not. Is that cutting it too close?
Hi Rebecca – yes, a 35 minute connection at CLT is doable (even to St Lucia) but everything has to go right in order to pull it off. Personally, I’d suggest going back to American Airlines to see if you can change your flights around so that you’ll have a longer connection. They might not allow it since it was only a 10 minute difference, but it’s was still a dirty thing for them to do.
If you can’t get it changed, just plan for the worst and hope for the best. Good luck!
Rebecca I too have a flight to St Lucia with a 35 minute layover in CLT. How did it go in your experience? I am worried about how this may go! I have heard you have to be super early to international flights which makes this way more stressful!
Howdy. I am in kind of the reverse scenario as a prior posters question…traveling from west palm beach to Munich next July. Choices for layover from Pbi to Clt are 40 minutes or 2 hours and 20 minutes. I will be traveling with another adult along with a 7 and 12 year old. Seats in row 2 on the flight to charlotte if it matters. Surprised they offer the 40 minute layover but it shows up first on the search engine (and is actually a little less expensive though price is not a big issue)
Hey Matt – 40 minutes will be stressful! Even if your flight from PBI is on time, the Munich flight will be boarding by the the time you arrive (you’ll barely have enough time to use the bathroom as you walk from gate to gate). If your PBI flight arrives even just a little bit behind schedule, you are going to have to hit the ground running to make the connection.
I would definitely choose the longer layover.
You’ve covered domestic-domestic, domestic-international, international-domestic flights & connections. I was wondering if you have any tips on international-international flts & connections through CLT and the minimum layover times for a stress-free connection?
We’re going from Toronto, Ontario, Canada to St. Kitts, Caribbean, on American Airlines, through Charlotte, NC (CLT) with a 1 hr. 25 min. layover. We’ll go through USA security at the Toronto airport, but will we need to go through USA customs & security again in CLT to board the 2nd AA plane? Thus, will 1 hr. 25 mins. be enough (assuming that the 1st plane is not delayed)?
Your advice & comments have been greatly entertaining & useful.
Hoping you can help us!
Dee & Jay
Hi Dee! 1 hour and 25 minutes will be more than enough time for your connection at CLT (you’ll even have enough time to eat and do some shopping). As you said, you’ll go through US customs and immigration prior to leaving Toronto. At that point, your flight will arrive into CLT as any other US domestic flight would. You won’t have to go through customs and immigration again – it’ll just be a matter of walking from one plane to the next. Enjoy St Kitts! Can’t say that I’m not jealous lol…
Thank you for your speedy (!) reply, Scott!! That takes a lot of stress away for us.
LOL, gotcha ya.
Take care, be safe,
Dee & Jay
Hi, Scott: We just wanted to say that you were bang on accurate in your information above! Wow, we are impressed. This is the first blog we’ve ever made inquires on and we’re certainly glad you were able to help, considering the leap of faith that we took in you.
Thank you so much! Keep up the good work. Stay safe & happy trails.
Dee & Jay (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
That’s great to hear! I’m glad everything worked out for you – and please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions in the future! I’d be very happy to help.
Hello, I will be returning from Mexico to Montreal with American Airlines on February 9, 2023. I have a transfer to Montreal at Charlotte airport. We will land at 7:20 pm and I have about 1 hour 15 minutes to get to my flight to Montreal. We will only have carry on luggage. Will I have enough time, because I think I will have to go through US customs and maybe still security with our luggage. Thank you Rejean
Hi Rejean – 1 hour and 15 minutes will be tight, but you shouldn’t have any issues (especially since you don’t have any checked bags). Yes, you will have to go through US customs and immigration upon arrival in Charlotte.
It shouldn’t take all that long though, as CLT usually doesn’t have many international flights that arrive at the same time. Make your way to the passport queue as fast as you can!
Thank you very much Scott for your quick response, we will do as quickly as possible to go to immigration. Have a good day.
Hello, I’m travelling to Mexico (Cabo) through American Airlines in July. Departing from PHL to CLT at 6:41 AM with a 40 minute layover – will that be enough? I will not have any checked bags.
I’ve also been looking at connecting through ORD (1 hr 6 min layover) and PHX (48 min layover) – all flights through American.
Any suggestion welcome! Thank you! Camila
Hi Camila – yes, that should be enough time since all you’ll have to do is walk from one plane to the next (there will be no additional security checkpoints to go through). You’ll be fine, but I’d personally choose the longer layover at ORD just for the added buffer.
Hi Scott. I’m really looking for some reassurance, as I’m flying alone for the first time. I’m flying from Frankfurt to Tampa, with my layover in Charlotte. My layover is exactly 4 hours. Just wanting to be sure I’ll be okay with getting my bag, customs, dropping off my bag, and then going through security again to get to my connecting flight.
I really appreciate the information from this blog post. Especially the map of the terminals!
Hi Alli – you’ll have nothing to worry about with a 4 hour layover (other than trying to figure out what to do with all the extra time you’ll have haha). It’s likely to take no more than an hour to get through customs/immigration/check in, so just follow the signs and take it slow. Have a good trip!
Thank you so much for all the helpful information! We are flying from St. Lucia (UVF) to Charlotte and then on to DFW from there. We originally picked a flight with a 2-3 hour layover, but I just saw AA changed it to be an hour and 10 minute layover….
We will arrive to Charlotte at 7:15 PM and our flight to DFW leaves at 8:25 PM. We will have checked bags – so is there a chance we can make that layover or should I call AA and see what we can do about changing it?
There is another flight to DFW that leaves out at 10:49 PM so I wasn’t sure if we should try our luck with the earlier flight or just try to change it now? Thank you!
Hi Kenzie – yeah, if AA will allow you to make the change, definitely take advantage of it! An hour and 10 minutes to make an international to domestic connection at CLT is doable, but it’s going to be tight (and stressful). It’s worth making the call IMHO.
Hi, I will be travelling from BWI airport to Mexico City, deciding which airport should I layover at.
The CLT option has a 57mins layover (with American Airline), MSP option has a 1hr 10mins layover and ALT option has a 2hrs layover (the last 2 options are with Delta). Which one would be the best option? I personally prefer the transiting at CLT, just not sure if I can make it. Thank you very much.
Hi Yanice – if it was me, I’d choose the 2 hour layover at ATL (simply because I don’t like having the dark cloud of a tight connection hanging over my head).
You can easily make the 57 minute connection at CLT though. Even if your inbound flight is a little late, it doesn’t take all that long to change planes in Charlotte. If that is the most convenient option for you, book it without worry. Have a good trip!
Thank you, Scott. Another question, so 2hrs layover would be sufficient if I’m flying from BWI to ATL, then ATL to Mexico City right? How about if y return flight, from Mexico City to ATL, also a 2hrs layover, then back to BWI. Those work just fine right? Or do I need more time on my return journey since I end to go through immigration? Much appreciated for your help!
Hey Yanice – yeah, a 2 hour layover going to Mexico from ATL will be super easy. 2 hours on the way back will be a bit more challenging – but totally doable as long as you move through the customs/immigration process as fast as you can. Having a seat near the front of the plane for the arrival into ATL from Mexico will save you lots of time – so it may behoove you to pay a little extra for a better seat.
If it makes you feel any better, I’d do a 2 hour international to domestic connection at ATL without worry. Have fun!
Thanks so much!
Thank you so much Scott for sharing all this insider information 🙂 – it’s so helpful.
Just booked American Airlines flight from Syracuse to London UK – a connection at Charlotte with layover of 1 hr 35 m. Mostly because this was the least bad option.Feeling a bit nervous about this short window after a panic-driven sprint at JFK last year!
Do you think the 1 hr 35 m will be OK and is it worth paying extra for seats nearer the front of the Syracuse plane?
Hi Kim – yeah, an hour and a half to make a domestic to international connection in Charlotte will be a piece of cake! You won’t have to go through security to get from one plane to the next, so it’ll be a fast and easy transfer (CLT is a lot less gnarly than JFK is). And yes, sitting near the front of the plane for your arrival into CLT will help, but honestly, it isn’t necessary for your situation. Have a good trip!
Wonderful – thank you Scott – that’s made me feel a whole lot more optimistic 🙂 [thumbs up].
My husband and I are traveling through Charlotte with a 35 minutes layover, the problem is we have two kids of 6 and 2 years old with us. Can we make it?
Hi Majedeh – that is a very tight connection to make, but the airlines wouldn’t allow you to book it if it wasn’t possible. Having two small children with you will make it especially challenging, so in your case, I would recommend sitting near as far forward as you can on the inbound flight to Charlotte (so that you’ll be one of the first off).
If that isn’t possible, it’s worth letting the flight attendants of that flight know about your situation. Depending on how helpful they are feeling, they may be willing to ask other passengers to let you go ahead of them. Good luck!
Hi! We have a flight coming back from Nassau, Bahamas connecting in CLT. American Airlines said we will do customs in Nassau so we won’t need to do that in CLT and also go back through security as we recently had to coming back from Grand Cayman. Our layover is 1 hr 30 minutes. Not sure if I should believe we don’t have any of all that extra international connection stuff i mentioned. Any experience Nassau to CLT as a connection?
Hey Bobbi – what they said is correct. You will go through US Pre-clearance before leaving Nassau, which means that you’ll arrive in Charlotte just the same as any other US domestic flight. It’ll simply be a matter of walking from one plane to the next – no additional security checks needed (and yes, 1:30 will be more than enough time). Have a good trip!
I’m looking at booking an AA flight from providence to CLT then onto Asheville regional to save driving time and it has a 36 min layover. I’ll be carryon only but a bit nervous never been to this airport before so hoping that would be enough to get there. I walk with purpose.
Hi Heather – walking with purpose is what makes those 36 minute layovers possible at CLT. 🙂 While you won’t have to go through any additional checkpoints to reach your connecting gate, getting off your inbound flight in a timely manner could be a challenge. I’d recommend sitting as far forward on that flight as you can.
If it was me, I’d choose a different itinerary with a longer connection. But it’s certainly doable if it’s your only option. Wear running shoes!
I am planning to fly from Memphis to Roanoke with a 45 minute layover in Charlotte. It seems like with no dilly dallying I will be able to make to the next flight on time (provided it is on time). My question is, what about my bag? I am going to have to check a bag, will it make it on the plane and to Roanoke when I do?
Hi Crystal! You’re exactly right – as long as there’s no dillydallying, 45 minutes will be more than enough time.
And yes, assuming that your entire itinerary was booked all at once (and both segments are on the same airline), your bags will transfer automatically. Have a good trip!
THANK YOU!!! This was so helpful and has totally relieved my anxiety about missing my connection tomorrow. I am supposed to arrive at 2:25 pm and my departure is at 3:11 pm. I am coming from a small airport so we should be departing on time. I have to go from the far end of E to B7. I should be able to make it in 10 minutes according to your information. I walk pretty fast. The airport information said 19 minutes which had me worried. Thanks so much for this website and information.
You’re very welcome Julie! Yup, you’ve got nothing to worry about if you’re a fast walker. Heck, you’d still be fine at a more leisurely pace as well (I’m sure). Have good flight!
Hello ! Is a 54 minute layover in Charlotte doable coming from Toronto Canada with connecting flight to Houston?
That’ll be easy Belle! You’ll go through US customs and immigration prior to departing Toronto, so you won’t have to do anything once you arrive in Charlotte except walk to your connecting gate. No additional security checks required!
Hey Scott, I love all of this info! So I’m flying from Augusta and getting a connecting flight in Charlotte, meeting up with my sister for a trip. I will have a 50 minute layover. I’m not sure if I’ll be coming into Concourse C or E, but I will probably be leaving out of Concourse C. Assuming the first flight will be on time, can you think of any reason why I can’t do this? From what I’ve read, it shouldn’t be but a 5 to 10 minute walk if I do land in E.. Thanks in advance!
50 minutes will be easy Julie! The Charlotte airport isn’t as large as some of the other major airline hubs in the US (such as ORD and ATL), so getting from one end of it to the other is fast and easy. Have a great trip!
Hey Scott, Thank you for all the info! I found it so helpful, really appreciate your time and effort.
Looking for any advise or tips from you. I was wondering if a 1 hr 50 min lay over is doable for an international-international flight with checked in baggage.
I am going from Toronto, Ontario, Canada to London, UK, on American Airlines, through Charlotte, NC (CLT) with a 1 hr. 50 min. layover. Would I need to collect my baggage and check it in again at CLT. If yes, what would be the minimum amount of time required to make it to my connecting flight. I am worried about any possible delays in the first flight, as it shows in my booking that its ‘Often delayed by 30+ min’.
Hi S – you’re very welcome! An hour and 50 minutes is plenty of time for that connection (you’ll make it easily without any issues).
You’re actually going to go through US customs and immigration prior to leaving Toronto, so you’ll arrive in Charlotte as if it’s a domestic US flight. The only thing you’ll have to do is walk from one plane to the next. There will be no security checkpoints to go through and your bags will transfer automatically.
Have a great trip!
Hi, thank you so much for all this information! I have an international flight with a 51 min layover in clt. Will that be enough time to make it to my next flight to DR? I’m traveling with my 1 year old
Hi Fray – you’re very welcome! If you’re coming in on a domestic flight, then yes, you’ll have plenty of time. If you’re arriving on an international flight, I don’t think 51 minutes is going to be enough time unfortunately.
I assume that you meant that you’re arriving on a domestic flight and connecting to the Dominican Republic, so in that case, you’ve got noting to worry about. Have a good trip!
We’re travelling to tampa from lhr and we have connections both ways in ctl on the way in we have a layover of 3:30hrs with checked baggage so we’ll have to clear customs and recheck in to the domestic flight is that correct and on the way back to lhr we have a layover of 1 hour in Carl from tpa to get our international flight to lhr. Would I be correct that our bags would be checked through from tampa to lhr so it’s just a case of walking from our domestic flight through the terminal to our international flight with AA.
Do we Have we enough time both ways
Hi Nick! Yes, you’ll have more than enough time to make your connections in both directions.
Upon arrival from LHR, you will first go through passport control. Then you will need to retrieve your luggage before going through customs. Once finished with that, you will have to recheck your luggage before going through the security checkpoint to get back into the terminal. 3 hours and 30 minutes is a good amount of time to have.
On the way back, you won’t have to do anything upon arrival in Charlotte. Your luggage will transfer automatically, and you can walk directly to your connecting gate (no security checks required).
Have a great trip!
Thanks Scott valuable advice
You’re very welcome!
Hi there! Thanks for being so helpful!
We have a 40 min connection time at Charlotte coming from BHM and going to LHR. No checked luggage. Think we could make it or should I try to get our flights changed?
Hi Sara! 40 minutes is going to require you to move quickly – so be prepared to hit the ground running (or at least walking fast) upon arrival in CLT. It’s a completely doable connection though thanks to how compact and easy to navigate the airport is.
I’d highly recommended sitting as far forward as you can on your inbound flight. Being one of the first off is going to save you a lot of valuable time.
My situation is similar to the previous one from Sara. Flying in August from Tri-Cities through Charlotte to London with only a 35-minute layover. Small plane from TRI (American Eagle) probably arriving in Terminal E, so I can get off quickly and move fast to whatever terminal (don’t know yet which — will it likely be A or could it be any one of the others?). Seems the only concern is incoming flight leaving on-time and not held up on tarmac at CLT waiting for a gate. I always thought that if the airline gave you a short layover as an option that it was certainly do-able, but I get the stress factor too! When do they typically close the boarding on international flights?
Hi Sally – yeah, that is going to be a doozie of a connection unfortunately. It’s technically possible, but everything is going to have to go right in order to make it. Even a 10 minute delay on your inbound flight might be enough to cause you to miss the connection to London.
They typically close boarding for international flights about 15-20 minutes prior to departure, but more often than not I’ve seen them keep it open longer if they know that there are connecting passengers that are on their way.
The gate agents will know that you’re coming. You’ll make it if you hustle!
Scott – thank you for all the great detailed guidance. I am coordinating a trip next year for 5 of us. Mostly in our 50s, no kids, but includes my 85 year old mother. We are scheduled to arrive on American from Dublin and disburse to HSV, BWI and SAN. We are scheduled for about 1 hr 40 min layover.
My concern is retrieving the checked bags and getting them checked back in again. To me that is biggest unknown – we have missed connections in LA due to being stuck at baggage claim before even getting to customs and check in again. How efficient is CLT with the baggage claim? Where exactly do we check them in again? Where exactly do we check in again for security (do we have to go back to the main ticket counter)?
The next available flight for my mom would have a 5.5 hour layover and the rest of us would have already departed leaving her on her own so my concern is high (this article has helped a lot though!)
Hi Beth – you’re very welcome! From what I’ve seen, CLT is far more efficient for processing inbound international travelers compared to other large airports (such as LAX).
I think you’re going to be perfectly fine with one hour and 40 minutes. It’s been a while since I’ve experienced the international transfer process at CLT, but there should be a baggage recheck area immediately after you exit customs.
If not, you’re going to have to take your luggage to the airline ticket counter (which will be all that long of a walk). From there, you can go through any security checkpoint. All terminals and CLT are connected airside, so it doesn’t matter which security entrance you go through.
Have a good trip!
We are flying Augusta, GA to Charlotte to Provincials, TCI. We have 1.5 hours between arrival and departure. Should we be ok? I’m booked with American so I’m hoping the arrival and departure terminals are close.
Hi Angela – yes, an hour and a half will be perfectly fine. It’ll be quick and easy even if you have to change terminals, since there are no security checks required to move between them.
Have a great trip!
Hello we are traveling to Turks and Caicos in October from Omaha and the only option is a 40 min layover in clt. We have a 17 year old and an 8 and 3 year old do you think we will be okay? American said that if the connection is short the connection is usually in the same terminal?!
Hi Stephanie – yes, that is going to be a tight connection, but getting around CLT is extremely easy compared to other large airports. Chances are good that you won’t have to walk very far to reach your connecting flight, but it’s impossible to know this far out.
Either way, I think you’ll be fine as long as you hit the ground running (or at least walking with purpose) as soon as you land.