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What's the closest major airport to Charleston?

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What's the closest major airport to Charleston?

We are flying from Seattle to Charleston next June with a little one, who will be 18 months at the time. I was hoping to get a direct flight somewhere near Charleston and then rent a car and drive the rest of the way. Any suggestions?

Greensboro, North...
Destination Expert
for Isle of Palms, Edisto Island, Charleston
posts: 5,802
reviews: 11
1. Re: What's the closest major airport to Charleston?

Try Charlotte or Atlanta. Charlotte's @ 3-3.5 hours, Atlanta 5-6.

Charleston, SC
posts: 3,686
reviews: 54
2. Re: What's the closest major airport to Charleston?

Atlanta has a couple of advantages for sure - frequent, numerous flights on almost every airline (notably NOT Southwest) and there are many things to do (world's largest aquarium, CNN tour, Coca Cola World) and you don't need a car to do those things as the public transportation is quite good. IMHO Atlanta is a gorgeous, modern city that has more green in it than any big American city I've visited. (I'm a former long-time resident)

Also check out fares to Jacksonville, FL. It's a little farther than Charlotte would be (in the other direction!) but it would take you through Savannah, near Hilton Head, and offers Southwest and pretty much all the other airline options.

Between Charlotte, Jacksonville and Atlanta you should be able to find a great deal. I have NOT flown into Charlotte but the Jacksonville airport is easy to negotiate and quick to rent cars. Atlanta is the world's busiest airport but it's very well planned out and easy to navigate (though it may take a while since it's ginormous) You will have to take a shuttle to get to your car rental agency.

Charleston's airport is small. From Atlanta the flight is less than an hour, so by the time you're settled in you're just about ready to land. If you can get a good deal to Charleston, do that - you'll love the small airport convenience (you can walk to your car rental). From the airport, it's only about 20 minutes to the Historic District.

Finally - check out Columbia (CAE). It's 100 miles from Charleston and sometimes offer pretty good deals. Pretty easy in and out and one highway takes you right to the heart of Charleston.

Good luck and welcome!

Charleston, SC
posts: 3,686
reviews: 54
3. Re: What's the closest major airport to Charleston?

OK so scratch a lot of my suggestions - Southwest is really not an option since you'd have a stop in between and still not be in Charleston. Looks like Atlanta might be the place - but do let us know if you've found something that works!

Ridgewood, New...
Destination Expert
for Kiawah Island, Charleston
posts: 7,978
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4. Re: What's the closest major airport to Charleston?

Unless there are some stops you want to make along the road, I suggest that you fly into CHS.

Even with a change of planes in Atlanta or Charlotte, arriving in Charleston, where the whole process of retrieving luggage and renting a car is extremely easy, will probably be more relaxing than the alternative. Just be sure to leave plenty of time being flights so the little one can stretch and run around a little.

With a toddler, you might prefer Charlotte's airport for your connection or for your rental car. Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport is huge. At the moment, Hartsfield is the busiest airport in the WORLD.


Destination Expert
for Seabrook Island
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5. Re: What's the closest major airport to Charleston?

I'm going to buck the trend here. When I first read the post, I thought cool traveling with a youngster(my younger daughter starting flying when she was six months old).

I understand the need to want as few connections as possible- don't we all want that. But traveling with a tot you may want and need to break this trip up.

A direct flight from Seattle to Atlanta is almost five hours (don't forget to tack on waiting time - another two hours). Your child is now six to seven hours into traveling and your still not to Charleston.

The drive from Atlanta to Charleston is six hours. Doable for most but after a day's worth of flying, wondering who will be the most worn out- you the parent or the child.

I'd suggest you try and find flying routes that would include shorter times in the air. Sure this will make the entire trip much longer but ther would be breaks where your child could run around even if it is in an airport terminal.

Bottom line - trust your instincts as a parent! Only you know if your child is up to flying a long segment on a plane.

I didn't check the flight length from Seattle to Dallas. This could be shorter and allow you to take a connecting flight from DFW straight into Charleston. You might look at routes through Chicago too. There are some direct flights from Chicago to CHS.

I use itasoftware.com to check flights. Log in as a guest.

posts: 1,158
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6. Re: What's the closest major airport to Charleston?

We just returned from the area, traveling with my wife and 14 year old daughter.

We flew from LAX to Charlotte, spent a night near the airport and then drove to Charleston. It took us about 3-1/2 hours. It was an easy drive and we enjoyed seeing a bit of the area, albeit from a moving car!

We didn't want to mess with connections to avoid the stress of lost luggage, frayed nerves and travel fatigue.

7. Re: What's the closest major airport to Charleston?

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