Charleston International Airport Guide

Charleston International Airport

Courtesy of Charleston International Airport  

A joint civil-military venture serving approximately 4.5 million passengers annually, Charleston International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in the state of South Carolina. It is a gateway to the historic coastal city of Charleston—located just 12 miles northwest of downtown in the city of North Charleston—and other destinations in the Low Country.

The airport offers flights to and from major cities in the United States such as Chicago, New York, and Seattle via American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and other major carriers. British Airways offers seasonal nonstop flights to London's Heathrow Airport twice a week during the summer.

An easy-to-navigate, regional airport, Charleston International has one passenger terminal with a central area for ticketing/check-in, security, baggage claim, and other amenities. Concourse A has five gates and is served by Delta Air Lines, while Concourse B has 10 gates served by the other carriers.

Located off the I-526 spur of I-26, the airport offers valet as well as long- and short-term parking, plus shuttles, taxis, ride-share options, and a cell phone waiting lot.

Learn more about the airport's location, flights, layout, services, and transportation options below.

Charleston International Airport Code, Location, and Flight Information

Know Before You Go

CHS is a compact regional airport. Accessible via I-526 and International Boulevard, there is a single terminal; airline ticketing counters and an eight-lane security checkpoint are to the right of the entrance, while the welcome area, rental car pavilion, arrivals hall, and baggage claim are to the left. The two are adjoined by a central hall, which has an information desk and ATM as well as a post-security food court and shopping area.

Because Charleston is a popular destination and the airport only has one security access point, plan on arriving at least 90 minutes before your flight, especially during high tourist seasons like spring and summer.

The airport offers nonstop flights to over 20 destinations in the United States via Allegiant Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines. In addition, British Airways offers seasonal service to London's Heathrow Airport.

Year-round service is available to Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Detroit, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, Nashville, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. Frontier offers seasonal service nonstop to Cleveland, Denver, Philadelphia, and Trenton-Mercer Airports, while Alaska Airline's service to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is only offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

Charleston International Airport Parking

Note: The parking area at CHS is currently undergoing renovations, so airport authorities advise allowing an extra 30 minutes for drop-off and pick-up to account for construction delays.

The airport has several options for short- and long-term parking. The most expensive option is valet, which is $21 per day and available between 4:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. (or when the last flight arrives) daily.

Hourly parking is available in the main parking garage, which includes 1,268 spaces; a two-floor covered deck; and a third, open-air floor. Rates are $1 every 20 minutes or $15 per day, with a maximum stay of 30 days. A daily parking deck, which will include five floors of covered spots, is currently under construction.

There are two options for economy parking. Economy Lot A, located directly behind the hourly parking deck, is a surface lot with rates of $1 every 20 minutes or $10 per day; you can park here for up to 30 days. With a capacity of 1,476 spaces, Economy Lot B is a remote parking lot located on the airport loop road and next to the surface lot. The cost is $10 per day and includes free shuttle service to and from the terminal. For the shuttle bus schedule and additional details, download the Ride Systems app.

Waiting on an arriving passenger? Take advantage of the airport's cell phone lot. With 80 spots, the lot is located on the right side of International Boulevard, immediately before the main terminal drop-off area.

Driving Directions

Charleston International Airport is located off I-526, which starts east of the airport in Mount Pleasant. The airport is 12 miles from downtown Charleston (approximately a 20 to 25-minute drive), 65 miles from Georgetown, SC (a 90-minute drive), and 100 miles from Hilton Head Island (a two-hour drive).

Directions to CHS from the north:
Take I-26 E to International Boulevard in North Charleston, then take exit 16 (International Blvd-Airport/Montague Ave) from I-526 W. Use either of the right two lanes to exit to the airport terminal.

Directions to CHS from the south:
Take I-26 W to International Boulevard in North Charleston, then take exit 16 (International Blvd-Airport/Montague Ave) from I-526 W and follow directions above.

Directions to CHS from the east:
Take US-17 N or S to I-526 W toward North Charleston/Savannah, then take exit 16 (International Blvd-Airport/Montague Ave) as directed above.

Directions to CHS from the west:
Take SC-61 S to I-526 E to International Blvd in North Charleston. Use exit 16 from I-526 W and follow directions above.

Public Transportation and Taxis

Taxis are available on the center median directly outside of baggage claim. Note there is a $15 minimum charge for all taxis leaving the airport.

For shared shuttle service, use the Downtown Shuttle, which picks up in the same location as taxi service. The cost is $15 per passenger, and departs within 15 minutes of request from early morning until the last flight of the evening. Note that the shuttle may make additional stops downtown, depending on the number of passengers.

Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and National have locations at the Rental Car Pavilion, located at the end of the CHS terminal near baggage claim.

Rideshare services Lyft and Uber offer pick-up at the airport as well. Exit baggage claim and follow the rideshare signs (over both roadways, then turn right at the last sidewalk) to a covered waiting area.

Charleston Area Regional Authority, CARTA, offers service to and from the airport. The covered area is located on the curb at the end of the terminal outside of baggage claim. For a full CARTA schedule, click here.

Some area resorts offer shuttle service to and from the airport, but those must be arranged in advance and directly with transportation companies.

Where to Eat and Drink

While Charleston International is a small airport, there are a few options for food and drink. Pre-security, the Harvest & Grounds bakery sources coffee from Charleston’s King Bean Coffee Roasters as well as fresh pastries from local bakeries. Service begins at 4:30 a.m.

Harvest & Grounds also has a post-security location in the Central Marketplace, located between Concourses A and B. Additional options include locally-based specialty gourmet shop Caviar & Bananas, which offers sandwiches, salads, charcuterie and cheese, and pastries from 4:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. At the Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear Grill, you can get granola, French toast, and omelettes for breakfast, as well as sliders, pizza, salads, sandwiches, and burgers for lunch or dinner. For travelers seeking a fast option, there is also a Burger King in the Central Marketplace.

In Concourse A, Charleston Beer Works serves up local brews and other craft beers (plus breakfast and traditional bar fare like wings, burgers, and boiled peanuts) from 4:30 a.m. until the last flight of the day. On Concourse B, options include Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts, and DeSano Pizza Bakery. There's also a Samuel Adams Brewhouse, which offers the brand's signature brews in bottles and on tap as well as standard pub food like nachos, sandwiches, and flatbread pizzas.

Airport Lounges

The airport has one premium lounge, The Club CHS, which is located in the main concourse. It's open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, and access is free to Priority Pass members. Day passes are available for $40 per person for non-members.

Wi-Fi and Charging Stations

CHS has free Wi-Fi, CHSFREEWIFI, so expect speedy Internet connectivity. The airport also has 2,000 electrical outlets and USB ports throughout the terminal for charging mobile devices.

Charleston International Airport Tips & Facts

  • For those traveling with pets, designated animal relief areas are located outside of ticketing and the Rental Car Pavilion.
  • Both Delta Airlines and Southwest Airlines offer curbside check-in.
  • Self-service luggage carts are available in Baggage Claim near Carousel 1 and on the first floor of the parking deck. It costs $3 per cart.
  • For nursing mothers, the airport has two Mamava mobile lactation stations outfitted with a fold-down table, electrical outlet, and bench. One is located between gates B4 and B6 post-security, and the other is by Carousel 1 in baggage claim.
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