My home airport is Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT).  With nearly 700 daily departures, CLT is American Airlines’ second largest hub.  It serves more than 160 domestic and international destinations and is the 7th busiest airport in the world by aircraft movements.  American Airlines controls 90% of the traffic.  I hate to dis my home airport, but despite being an important transportation hub, CLT creates a generally unpleasant travel experience.

Passengers must put up with CLT’s narrow, crowded concourses, faded carpet, gates with too few seats and electrical outlets, and only two lounges, my pet peeve.  Adding insult to injury, CLT’s average ticket prices are the fourth highest in the United States. Given American Airline’s monopoly, I suppose that should not be too surprising.

The Airport Authority recognized the need for improvement.  In 2015, it launched a 10-year, $2.5 – $3.1 billion renovation project called “Destination CLT.”  (That name  is a little misleading because the vast majority of passengers at CLT are connecting rather than originating or terminating.)  Adding 230,000 square feet and nine new gates at Concourse A is one of the initial Destination CLT projects.

The Concourse A expansion opened in the fall of 2018.  Returning on a late-night flight a couple of weeks ago, I finally took time for a recon.  I was impressed.

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The Concourse A expansion includes everything from the A connector to Gate A29.

Gleaming floors (no more faded carpet) and moving walkways lead to the new A gates.

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The connector has a mother’s room and pet relief area.
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Except for a cleaning crew, the expansion was deserted.
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A necessity for many.
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Gates look much nicer and have large display screens.
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Seating is rather spartan but seats have power, flat armrests, and cupholders, another nice touch.

 

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Concourse A is now the only CLT concourse with an upper level.  Windows incorporate dynamic glazing.  Automatically responding to changes in light and temperature, dynamic glazing uses an electrical current to lighten and tint a coating between glass panes.  It is the same system used for the amazing windows on 787s.
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A cutout in the upper level preserves the high ceilings and an airy feel of the concourse level.

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People relief areas have also been updated.
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CLT’s Main Terminal is famous for rocking chairs. This quiet area of the connector echoes that nice touch and provides great views of the tarmac and Runway 18C/36C.

Conclusion

Having taken many flights on Delta from the original Concourse A (currently undergoing its own renovation), the new gates and facilities are an enormous improvement.  Well done.  I’m anxious to experience the upcoming improvements to the other concourses and Main Terminal.  It looks like there’s hope for CLT after all.