Important tips to ensure a positive travel experience during the busy holiday season

December 18, 2019

Events & UpdatesPress Releases

CLE expects to have more people start or end their travels at CLE this year than any year since 2001 and an increase of 4.5 percent total passenger traffic over last year for the same period. The team encourages airport-goers to plan ahead for this busy travel season. Travelers should allow plenty of time to arrive at the airport, find parking, check in and pass through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security. After clearing security, travelers can enjoy the many amenities that CLE has to offer, including the new 800 Degree Kitchen on Concourse A and temporary pop-up shops this week in the food court.

Travelers should be aware of the airport’s peak activity times which include early morning from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., early afternoon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and late afternoon to early afternoon from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Holiday Cheer
Back by popular demand, CLE and American Greetings have teamed up to provide FREE gift wrapping to guests. Passengers can find gift wrapping stations located on the secure side of the checkpoints Dec. 20, 23 and 24 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. and 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. on December 24. On Dec. 19, Santa Claus will stop by the airport to meet with airport officials about his annual stopover on Christmas Eve and file his flight plan with the Federal Aviation Administration. Santa will also walk the terminal and talk to boys and girls he may have missed throughout the holiday week (December 19, 20 and 23). Carolers will sing in the terminal Dec. 20, 21 and 23 from 7 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Travel tips
Airport officials encourage travelers to arrive at least two hours before scheduled departures to allow time for inclement weather, traffic, parking, checking-in and going through security checkpoints. Travelers should look for signs, Gold Coat Ambassadors and Landside Operation employees in blue for assistance.

CLE’s web site is a one-stop shop for travelers looking for travel information. Visit the web site at to the following:

  • Status of your flight
  • Airline contact information
  • Status of airport parking
  • Status of the TSA Checkpoint wait times

Follow CLE on Twitter at @GoingPlacesCLE and Facebook at for airport tips and updates.

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

Travelers have a variety of 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, $11 per day

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

RTA Red Line to the airport
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) offers convenient service to and from CLE. 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 25 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-issued ID ready to present at the airline ticket counter and security checkpoint.

Be prepared for the screening process:

  • Arrive at the airport two hours before your scheduled flight. More people are traveling this time of year and you'll need more time.
  • Know what is in your carry-on bags and checked bags. Do not bring any prohibited items with you. Don't know if an item is allowed or prohibited? Here's how to find out:
  • Send a tweet to @AskTSA
  • Ask us via Facebook Messenger: has a feature in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage: Can I bring my? Click there and type in the item.
  • Download the free myTSA app, which has the same "Can I bring my?" feature.
  • Many people travel with food during the holidays. Foods like cakes, pies and cookies are allowed through a checkpoint, but may be subject to additional screening. However, spreadable and pourable food items must go in checked bags (maple syrup, jams, jellies, preserves). Not sure? See the 2nd bullet point above on how to ask TSA.
  • Snow globes that are 3.4 ounces or smaller and fit into the 3-1-1 bag can go in a carry-on bag. If it's larger, pack it in a checked bag. Not sure? The basic rule of thumb is that if the snow globe is larger than a tennis ball, then it should go into a checked bag.
  • It's a good idea not to wrap gifts using tape. If the gift triggers an alarm, TSA will need to open it to find out what the item is to ensure it is not a prohibited item. Instead, it is recommended that you:
  • Use a gift bag or unsealed gift box o Wrap the gift upon arrival

TSA Pre✓TM is available at CLE. TSA Pre✓TM allows select frequent flyers of participating airlines and members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection 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✓TM checkpoint. During peak hours, South Checkpoint will open a lane as well. For more information on TSA visit

CLEAR, the secure identity company using biometrics to build a frictionless and secure world in the Central Checkpoint for travelers with TSA and in the South Checkpoint for those who don’t.