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CLT vs ORD for domestic connections

Illinois
Level Contributor
19,333 posts
16 reviews
CLT vs ORD for domestic connections

Just checking on recommended connection time in CLT for domestic/domestic connections. I'm looking at flights to NYC (LGA) and the cheaper ones are either United or American via either CLT or ORD. I'm pretty familiar with ORD (have connected there a lot) and generally have an absolute minimum of 1 hour there (although I prefer a little longer). However, the CLT connections are a relatively new service, and I've never been to CLT.

I read some threads on the Charlotte forum, and they mostly seem to say flights are always late and there are always long walks and the connection is never long enough, but most of them were international/domestic. Is CLT bigger than ORD? (Ignoring T5 since that requires going through security again.) Do you ever have to go through security at CLT on a domestic/domestic connection?

Any preferences for ORD vs CLT? Most of the flights I'm looking at would be afternoon or evening connections as I'm too lazy to start a flight at 6:30AM to connect in the morning. Are there actual restaurants at CLT if we want to eat, or just fast food?

Thanks.

9 replies to this topic
San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
Level Contributor
59,771 posts
149 reviews
1. Re: CLT vs ORD for domestic connections

I have done just a few flights out of CLT but ORD is one of the worlds major hubs. CLT was a US Air hub and then AA took over. I would choose the airline I fly most over the Hub unless there it is Winter

Illinois
Level Contributor
19,333 posts
16 reviews
2. Re: CLT vs ORD for domestic connections

Well, I don't think I have much chance of reaching elite status on any of the airlines, so it doesn't really matter to me which I fly. I usually choose by price and schedule, but I don't know which schedules are good through CLT as I've never been there.

NH
Level Contributor
3,864 posts
9 reviews
3. Re: CLT vs ORD for domestic connections

CLT is a much easier airport than ORD...smaller, really nice and yes, it does have some good places to eat. ...And no, you do not need to go through security (again) to connect to domestic flights (unless you take a wrong turn and go outside the secured terminal area.)

The biggest negative for CLT is during summer you often deal with delays because of afternoon thunderstorms. ~~~allfins ><>

Illinois
Level Contributor
19,333 posts
16 reviews
4. Re: CLT vs ORD for domestic connections

Thanks. So we'd probably be ok with the same timings then. This particular trip is in March, so hopefully we won't have summer thunderstorms (although of course we do get those in Chicago too), but CLT shows up on a lot of flights now (it's a recent-ish addition to our airport connections), so any info is good for future trips.

(While I'm at it, would you ever have to go through security again to connect domestic to international? I assume you would int'l to domestic.)

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
34,357 posts
7 reviews
5. Re: CLT vs ORD for domestic connections

CLT is much smaller than ORD and as such the maximum walking time between AA gates is a lot less than between UA gates at ORD. That’s assuming that you’d have to walk between the farthest gates apart; if the connection leaves two gates away from arrival it doesn’t matter.

I’ve connected there (CLT) a couple of times and it was very easy. My preferred connection time even for D to D is still 2 hours but at either airport I’d consider shorter ones. As regards flights being “late” both United and American have much improved and very good on time performance (UA c.82% and AA c.80%, the leader just still being Delta at c.84%).

Nashville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
115 posts
94 reviews
6. Re: CLT vs ORD for domestic connections

CLT is larger than you expect, but WAY more manageable than ORD. You will find restaurants available for dining, but they may or may not be in the terminal where you are making your connection.

If I had my choice, though, I'd pick CLT over ORD just for ease of navigation.

Dallas, Texas
Destination Expert
for Boston, Orlando, Walt Disney World
Level Contributor
32,170 posts
118 reviews
7. Re: CLT vs ORD for domestic connections

CLT is a busy airport it's American's 2 largest hub behind Dallas Fort worth it's also the 11th busiest airport in the US as far as passenger movement and 7th for aircraft movement and it's also the busiest airport in the world as far as commuter flights so after all that i would still connect out of Charlotte.

Illinois
Level Contributor
19,333 posts
16 reviews
8. Re: CLT vs ORD for domestic connections

Thanks. That's helpful. Sounds like CLT is bigger than I expected it to be (I have been to Charlotte, but not for 20 years or so), but not as big as ORD and it doesn't sound like there will be any unexpected weirdness like having to go through security again. (I didn't think to ask about EWR before I bought the tickets, just assumed domestic-int'l was ok, although the same thing happens in ORD with some int'l airlines, I just never fly on those so didn't think about it!)

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
9,790 posts
49 reviews
9. Re: CLT vs ORD for domestic connections

CLT is an above midsize hub. Nothing on ATL, ORD etc.

I use it a decent amount. Almost on a dozen connections this year through CLT so far. The walks aren't huge but within most of the concourses there don't moving walkways (they're largely in the main areas where concourses join) and they do get quite busy. They have also just started cosmetic work on some of the concourses so carpets are ripped up, ceiling tiles missing etc.

If you are connecting from mainline to a mainline flight then as long as you're on time an hour is plenty. I've had to change concourses on 45min connections and arrived at my next flight before boarding starts.

There is only one terminal at CLT so not sure what one of the people above is referencing.

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