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Charlotte-Douglas Airport (CLT) Expansion


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6 hours ago, LKN704 said:

People are willing to drive significant distances to fly nonstop.

I flew into/out of Charlotte last week for a wedding in Asheville. Granted I had stayed with family before and after but the majority of people who were attending the wedding seemed to use CLT. 

Growing up in Albany we would always drive to JFK/EWR/BOS if we were going overseas or to the West Coast. All three were less than 3 hours away, and EWR was only 2h15m. Once you factor in the time to fly to a hub and layover time, driving to one of the above airports was always faster and usually cheaper. 

Anyways, there again seemed to be significant construction going on at what will be A North Phase II. It’s odd because the project I thought was officially paused and the city hasn’t put out an official statement saying construction has begun, which I would think they would considering they are basically constructing a whole new terminal. I’m actually flying back this weekend for an event so I’ll see if I can get some pictures. 

According to the CLT website.  Phase 2 is on track to start rising in 2022.

https://cltairport.mediaroom.com/destination-clt

I make yearly flights to ALB to go to Saratoga Springs.  I'm really surprised AA hasn't connected ALB to DFW yet.  While a large amount of traffic is connecting to Florida, I've also  sat next to people connecting to DEN, etc...If SYR-DFW is successful, I bet ALB won't be too far behind.  

I live 5 minutes from LEX (Lexington, KY), and honestly I prefer flying from LEX and connecting to driving the hour to CVG or SDF.  I try to remain loyal to AA and unless the price difference is $100+ lower, I'll stick to LEX and connecting.  The amount I can save on airport parking and ease of using LEX just makes it easier to connect imho.  You also pick up twice the amount of segments towards status.

Honestly, I even think I prefer living 5 minutes from a smaller airport and connecting than when I was living in NC and had to travel 1 hour + (depending on traffic) to catch a non stop flight from CLT.  It's obviously personal preference, but I love not having to worry about parking and being able to get from the entrance through security in 5 to 10 minutes.

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Flew into E tonight from Dulles. 

E is probably one of my least favorite places to fly through in the US now…crowded narrow corridors filled with sunburnt tourists who look like they haven’t been in a public setting in months, nasty/smelly carpet, and the multiple gates without jetways that just open to the humid outside air cause for the concourse to be quite stuffy. 

I wanted to take a picture but I didn’t want to seem like a creep but the men’s room across from Gate E8 was so bad it was funny. The soap dispensers were pulled off the wall and just lying on the counter horizontally. The counter itself was falling off the wall leaving a moldy, caulky  gap between the counter and the bathroom wall. Two vinegary-musty smelling dish towels were hanging out at each end of the sink counter and by the smell of them they were there for a while. Worst of all is the urinals lack dividers which freak me out. Don’t worry though…the CLT experience was made 100% better by the prerecorded announcement from the mayor welcoming travelers to the 15th largest city in the US!

That experience aside, two observation points:

1) I saw an E175 using the E Concourse. Didn’t know they were able to use the concourse because of their height. I thought that’s what the E expansion was for as it will be higher than the rest of the concourse. 
 

2) The E Expansion is coming along nicely. The metal frame looks to be complete. Best way I can describe it is a large, wide metallic barn. 

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1 hour ago, LKN704 said:

That experience aside, two observation points:

1) I saw an E175 using the E Concourse. Didn’t know they were able to use the concourse because of their height. I thought that’s what the E expansion was for as it will be higher than the rest of the concourse. 
 

2) The E Expansion is coming along nicely. The metal frame looks to be complete. Best way I can describe it is a large, wide metallic barn. 

E175's have been using a few select gates since the June scheduled.  Looks to be a few select gates (E14A, E16A, and E35B).  They are also doing domestic turns on D.  D4 is popular one but they have been using others as well.  It seems CLT Is truly at capacity at current times.  The only way they will be able to add more express flights will be by upgrading some to mainline.  

It will be nice to finally eliminate the cluster that is that is the E34-E38.  Hopefully it will be a one for one replacement.  

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Some good and bad news with this weeks AA schedule update.

The bad:  Madrid is gone until April 2022 at the earliest and Dublin is gone until May 2022 at the earliest (basically giving up on the rest of the season).  Also, several Mexico and Caribbean flights have reduced.  Mexico City is dropped from August 17th through early November.  

Potentially Good news:  Frankfurt is showing as resuming on October 7th, (and London is still showing as 1 daily on that date) so it does appear they are in fact looking to resume this route in October.

Good news:  Several domestic routes see up-gauges to mainline or mainline frequency increases.  Including but not limited to: (CVG (Cincinnati), LIT (Little Rock)-first time in a long time for this route, CAE (Columbia, SC)- this was planned for June 2020 pre-covid good to see this actually happen, BGR (Bangor Maine),  and STL (St. Louis) goes all mainline for the first time in recent memory (possible retaliation to Southwest? ) 

There seems to be a focus of decreasing frequency in some markets in favor of larger aircraft.  This may be AA trying to create space for new destinations to come in September/October.

 

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5 hours ago, CltFlyer said:

Some good and bad news with this weeks AA schedule update.

The bad:  Madrid is gone until April 2022 at the earliest and Dublin is gone until May 2022 at the earliest (basically giving up on the rest of the season).  Also, several Mexico and Caribbean flights have reduced.  Mexico City is dropped from August 17th through early November.  

Potentially Good news:  Frankfurt is showing as resuming on October 7th, (and London is still showing as 1 daily on that date) so it does appear they are in fact looking to resume this route in October.

Good news:  Several domestic routes see up-gauges to mainline or mainline frequency increases.  Including but not limited to: (CVG (Cincinnati), LIT (Little Rock)-first time in a long time for this route, CAE (Columbia, SC)- this was planned for June 2020 pre-covid good to see this actually happen, BGR (Bangor Maine),  and STL (St. Louis) goes all mainline for the first time in recent memory (possible retaliation to Southwest? ) 

There seems to be a focus of decreasing frequency in some markets in favor of larger aircraft.  This may be AA trying to create space for new destinations to come in September/October.

 

It was highly unlikely that MAD and DUB were coming back this year anyways. 

Mexico and Caribbean routes are traditionally cut back during that period. It's actually the low season for such routes during that time as kids go back to school and its peak hurricane season. There was a time a couple of years back that AA even stopped flying CLT-SJU and CLT-NAS for September/October. 

Looking at the schedule, the only routes that appear to be "dropped" completely are MEX, BGI, Samana DR (curious to see how that one is doing), SDQ, GND, CUR, SKB, STX, GGT, ELH, MHH, SJO, LIR, BZE, and SJD. Most resume in October/November, and all resume by December. All of those destinations actually were usually Winter seasonal only pre-Covid so the fact that AA is running them daily during Summer is an upgrade. For example, AA is running CLT-STX daily this summer. That flight used to be a Saturday-only service that operated only in the winter. The "bread and butter" Caribbean routes remain, such as SJU, NAS, PLS, AUA, SXM, etc

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My apologies if this is already being discussed.  There's a lot going on in this thread and I haven't been able to keep up.  But does anybody know what this construction site is?  It's right off the runway, close to the air traffic control tower.

20210613_171549.jpg

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12 minutes ago, CltFlyer said:

They are clearing land for the new deicing pad and south airfield cross taxiway.

Here is the full draft.  You can see the plans on Page 11.

https://www.airportprojects.net/clt-deice-pad-ea/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2020/04/Full-Draft-of-CLT-Deice-Pad-EA-with-Appendices.pdf

Here is a summary of the project.

https://www.wsp.com/en-US/projects/charlotte-douglas-international-airport-airfield-expansion

I imagine that cross taxiway is to help cargo? Nice to see some movement on the ground traffic issues. 

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Does anybody know what is going on and has been going on when you get off billy Graham onto the airport road on the right side?  They cleared a bunch of trees and looked like they were putting in new storm water pipes. Maybe it has to do with the office park right there not sure.  Are they redoing the exit ramp from billy graham onto airport road? 

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17 hours ago, LKN704 said:

Arrived at the airport early so I could go to the Centurion Lounge and get my money's worth, only to find it closed and only offering to-go lunch boxes due to "local government regulations". Something fishy is up as it was just open last week and all AA lounges are open. As far as I know there are no NC regulations in place that would prohibit the lounge from opening. My guess is there either must have been an outbreak that caused several staff members to call-out thus not allowing the lounge to open due to the lack of staff.

I decided to go sit somewhere quiet so I schlepped over to the A North pier, where I found that large open area on the A North area that was filled with chairs a couple of months ago was devoid of chairs and just was an empty space. I wonder why they would remove the chairs? I ended up sitting next to the Southwest gates on the mezzanine level of the pier, which looked to be a de-facto lounge for airline employees. Two airport staff members (not for CLT or an airline, maybe a staffing agency) were sitting next to me on their break and it was interesting to hear their conversation.

 

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Didn't there used to be seating in this area? I recall rocking chairs, these weird modern sofas, and a diagram 3D model of the airport on display.

image.thumb.png.5d1a2965c0904b1f021349bbca7cc8e1.png

 

 

Their conversation went as follows: apparently Southwest is short-staffed at CLT and it took them almost 25 minutes to fully unload an inbound flight. One of the staff members next to me saw that the Southwest CLT station manager had to physically help unload the bags and with the general ground-handling process, which he said was almost unheard of/unprecedented. He said while it was a nice-gesture for him to help out, the fact that he had to help was a sign that things were amuck in regard to Southwest's ops in CLT. He also noticed a large number of transfer bags being pulled to side, meaning Southwest pax are actually making connections in CLT, which I thought was interesting. 

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Arriving from Nashville.

At around 25 minutes before boarding I decided to head to my gate at E18 (the end of one of the piers there) and I clocked it at a little under a half a mile. The end of the concourse was an absolute zoo. Bus stations in Europe are nicer. This end of the concourse happened to be the one that had new jetbridges (servicing E175s) and that weird gate area where there is one boarding lane and podium servicing 4-6 gates. It's hard to see in the image, but that area was refurbished with new carpeting, ceiling panels, LED lighting, signage, and those gray wall panels bordering the gate door as seen in the A Concourse. Don't know why that area was refurbished but the rest of the concourse was not. I know CLT said they are putting a pause on refurbishing D & E because of COVID (maybe they will resume soon?) so maybe that section was done before COVID. 

image.thumb.png.5fd3ebdd4798510aecd05f7a76d5fda3.png

Bus station CLT-style. It's hard to see but the area in the distance has been refurbished. 

image.thumb.png.9b912025f8abe1dcc7e3374006817db9.png

Nasty (literally) bathroom on the E Concourse that wouldn't be out of place at a dive bar somewhere. 

Rocking chairs removed because that area is being turned into The Club CLT? Obvious spot for a lounge (although I assume restrooms would be outside), and the rendering of the exterior wall matches.

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53 minutes ago, cltcane said:

Rocking chairs removed because that area is being turned into The Club CLT? Obvious spot for a lounge (although I assume restrooms would be outside), and the rendering of the exterior wall matches.

A hot take! Perfect spot for a lounge, especially once A Phase II is complete.

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7 hours ago, cltcane said:

Rocking chairs removed because that area is being turned into The Club CLT? Obvious spot for a lounge (although I assume restrooms would be outside), and the rendering of the exterior wall matches.

That area is extremely small, and once you account that the club will include a kitchen, reception area, restrooms, etc, I can't see it going there unless they build a second level.

For those that don't know, the area we are talking about is the alcove on the left hand side in between the two moving walkways. 

 

image.png.2ee2a7e98f893cbb2efcdda530e80ea8.png

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2 hours ago, LKN704 said:

That area is extremely small, and once you account that the club will include a kitchen, reception area, restrooms, etc, I can't see it going there unless they build a second level.

For those that don't know, the area we are talking about is the alcove on the left hand side in between the two moving walkways. 

 

It’s not a huge area for sure, but neither is the rendered space.  The Club Lounges don’t require full kitchens like Centurion Lounges (they have a small selection of sandwiches/wraps, a heated pre-made soup or two and some basic snacks vs. a full hot food selection), so I think this fits. Restrooms would just be outside the lounge in the hall behind the bar or there could possibly be two single-occupancy restrooms where the two doors are in the back left corner of the rendering (also common for The Club lounges).  I have no direct knowledge and could be totally wrong, but I can’t think of anywhere else in the existing terminal where this lounge could be located.

 

4EC8B841-8F9C-424B-8631-4D0841991B37.jpeg

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1 hour ago, cltcane said:

It’s not a huge area for sure, but neither is the rendered space.  The Club Lounges don’t require full kitchens like Centurion Lounges (they have a small selection of sandwiches/wraps, a heated pre-made or two and some basic snacks vs. a full hot food selection), so I think this fits. Restrooms would just be outside the lounge in the hall behind the bar or there could possibly be two single-occupancy restrooms where the two doors are in the back left corner of the rendering (also common for The Club lounges).  I have no direct knowledge and could be totally wrong, but I can’t think of anywhere else in the existing terminal where this lounge could be located.

 

4EC8B841-8F9C-424B-8631-4D0841991B37.jpeg

The description made it seem like it would be quite large for some reason. The description also said the lounge would feature " full-service menu with locally inspired dishes" which to me means hot entrees. 

There is a ton of space on the mezzanine level of the atrium that could potentially be free. 

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1 hour ago, LKN704 said:

The description made it seem like it would be quite large for some reason. The description also said the lounge would feature " full-service menu with locally inspired dishes" which to me means hot entrees. 

There is a ton of space on the mezzanine level of the atrium that could potentially be free. 

AA has apparently been looking for space for another (much needed!) Admirals Club, and I would guess the upstairs level of the atrium that is/was occupied by airport offices moving offsite would be a more likely location for that lounge.  Not the same big windows and columns in the renderings up there.

Also, I assume “full-service” in this case just means food and drinks, not hot entrees.  I’ve been to just about every The Club location at least once, and they’re all essentially the same. The adjective-filled press release for one of the newest locations at MSY said to expect “unique New Orleans-inspired cuisine from Chef John Folse”, but that was a reheated pre-made “gumbo” plus the usual sandwiches/wraps and snacks.  It’s a shared pay-per-use lounge that will accept Priority Pass and Lounge Key members (the lounge developer/manager’s parent company, Collinson Group, company also owns those programs), so I’m not expecting high-end F&B or other amenities.  I will just happily take another lounge option (especially on A-North, if that’s where it will be located) with a much nicer design than existing locations and the potential for some local craft beers.

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2 hours ago, cltcane said:

AA has apparently been looking for space for another (much needed!) Admirals Club, and I would guess the upstairs level of the atrium that is/was occupied by airport offices moving offsite would be a more likely location for that lounge.  Not the same big windows and columns in the renderings up there.

Also, I assume “full-service” in this case just means food and drinks, not hot entrees.  I’ve been to just about every The Club location at least once, and they’re all essentially the same. The adjective-filled press release for one of the newest locations at MSY said to expect “unique New Orleans-inspired cuisine from Chef John Folse”, but that was a reheated pre-made “gumbo” plus the usual sandwiches/wraps and snacks.  It’s a shared pay-per-use lounge that will accept Priority Pass and Lounge Key members (the lounge developer/manager’s parent company, Collinson Group, company also owns those programs), so I’m not expecting high-end F&B or other amenities.  I will just happily take another lounge option (especially on A-North, if that’s where it will be located) with a much nicer design than existing locations and the potential for some local craft beers.

I recently visited The Club BWI and have to agree with your sentiment.  Not a bad way at all to wait for a flight and the food was perfectly fine, but it was nothing to particularly write home about.  I will say that the renderings for the CLT lounge look a bit nicer than the one at BWI though.  I can't say I would use it over the Centurion Lounge or Admirals Clubs though.

I'm not sure that they will place it in A North.  Lufthansa is currently without a business class lounge and I imagine this will be their new one.  I can't see the location being in A North if that is the case.  

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3 hours ago, Desert Power said:

Nice looking. Still not following what happened here. Is Honeywell building an additional hangar for their actual purposes or just donating it back for a museum?

No FAA or somebody requires certain areas to be used for hangers and when Honeywell came to town they need a hanger.  So it was built where the museum used to be and the new location is more on the northside of the airport.  Honeywell is donating a good bit of money for the new location.  That is my understanding. 

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17 hours ago, xapostrophe said:

The area that had the model of the airport and chairs you referenced is blocked off for construction now.

20210620_142605.jpg

I would have to guess that this location will in fact be the lounge.

Strange, given how far it is from the rest of the main terminal, especially considering how this will likely be Lufthansa's contract lounge. 

I've always wondered if Lufthansa would ever move over to A-North to be next to United. Inbound flights would allow passengers to disembark at D and then the aircraft would be towed over to an A-North gate. While it sounds a lot logistically, such arrangements are common at other airports.

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@LKN704 does Lufthansa fly to CLT from an airport that is pre-cleared by US customs?  My last two flights from Europe flew through Dublin and Toronto.  Both flights had US Customs Agents clear the flight before it left from Ireland and Canada respectively then land at a domestic terminal.  This was a surprise especially from Dublin, but the flight actually landed at the JFK Jetblue terminal and connected as if it was a domestic flight.  Maybe Lufthansa will use this process and start landing at A-North.     

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