CLE Offers Travel Tips Ahead of Busy Thanksgiving Holiday

November 18, 2021

Press Releases

This week marks the beginning of the busy Thanksgiving Day holiday travel season for Northeast Ohioans as they head to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE). The two busiest travel days of the holiday season are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, exceeded by the Sunday after Thanksgiving (the busiest travel day of the year). 

Recovery from last year’s Covid decline is well underway at CLE. In 2019, CLE welcomed approximately 260,000 departing and arriving passengers during the ten day Thanksgiving travel period. In 2020, that number fell to approximately 118,000 passengers. This year due to additional seats and expected higher passenger loads for the Friday before until the Sunday after CLE expects number to soar to 280,000 passengers. 

Additional staff will be assigned during the heavy travel periods including customer service personnel, law enforcement personnel including Cleveland Police Airport Unit, Federal law enforcement agencies, and custodial and maintenance staff. 

To help prepare travelers, CLE is offering the following tips: 


Travel tips 

Passengers should expect longer lines at the ticket counters and the three CLE Security Checkpoints. 

Airport officials encourage travelers to arrive at least 2 hours before scheduled departures to allow time for inclement weather, traffic, parking, checking-in and going through the checkpoints. 

CLE’s new Ground Transportation Center located at the north end of Baggage Claim is your one-stop for all shuttles. The Center features covered and heated waiting areas for added convenience. 

Also new this season is The Club CLE, a universal lounge for passengers from all airlines. The lounge features complimentary snacks and beverages, work stations with PC’s and charging stations. 

CLE’s website is a one-stop shop for travelers needing up-to-the-minute travel information. Visit the website at for the following: 

  • Status of your flight 
  • Airline contact information 
  • Parking status updates 
  • Checkpoint wait times 


Follow CLE on Twitter at @GoingPlacesCLE and on Facebook at for any important travel updates. 

Consider using your airline’s website to do advance check-in to print your boarding pass up to 24-hours before departure. 

Travelers have many parking options, including: 

  • CLE Curbside Valet, $30 per day 
  • The Smart Parking Garage, $20 per day 
  • The Red Lot, $18 per day 
  • The Blue Lot, $16 per day 
  • The Orange Lot, $15 per day 
  • The Brown Lot *currently closed* 

Picking up friends and family at the airport? Don’t circle the airport waiting for the call they have arrived. Park and wait in the CLE Cell Phone Lot located off State Road 237 South. Follow the blue directional signs for easy parking. 


RTA Redline to the airport 

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) offers convenient service to and from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. RTA's Red Line provides regular service between CLE and downtown Cleveland via the Tower City Station. The trip takes less than 30 minutes, and trains depart from CLE every 15 minutes for the majority of the day. 

For more information, visit the RTA web site at or call The RTAnswerline at 216-621-9500. 


TSA travel tips 

Always have a government-issue ID ready to present at the airline ticket counter and security checkpoint. 

Be prepared for the screening process: 

  • Be sure to look through your luggage to ensure no prohibited items are in the bag. 
  • All three CLE checkpoints have Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines for passenger screening. Metal detectors and x-ray machines for carry-on items are also in place for passenger screening. 
  • Remember the TSA 3-1-1 rule for carry-on items – Three ounces (3 oz.) per container, in a clear one-quart bag, one per passenger. 
  • Knives, scissors with pointed tips, pepper spray and other such items are prohibited as carry-on items. For a comprehensive list of banned and permitted items, visit the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) website at 
  • Carry-on luggage is typically restricted to one bag and one personal item per person. A personal item includes a purse, briefcase, or laptop bag. Keep in mind that all airlines have different policies, please check with your airline to make sure you know their policy. 
  • Outer coats, jackets and other such outer garments must be removed and put through x-ray screening. 
  • Children under the age of 12 will not have to remove their shoes before going through security. 


TSA Pre✓™ is available at CLE. TSA Pre✓™ allows select frequent flyers of participating airlines and members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs who are flying on participating airlines, to receive expedited screening benefits. Eligible participants use dedicated screening lanes for screening benefits which include leaving on shoes, light outerwear and belts, as well as leaving laptops and 3-1-1 compliant liquids in carry-on bags. 

Central Checkpoint is exclusively a TSA Pre✓™ checkpoint. During peak hours, South Checkpoint will have a TSA Pre✓™ available. For more information on TSA Pre✓™ visit