Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Kicks Off at RDU

RDU Airport, NC – The Thanksgiving holiday travel period kicks off today at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. An estimated 200,000 people are expected to fly in and out of RDU beginning today through Mon., Nov. 26.

Airport officials recommend passengers arrive at the airport at least two hours before their flight is scheduled to board. Many airlines begin boarding flights at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time.

The busiest travel days during the Thanksgiving holiday will be Wed., Nov. 21 and Sun., Nov. 25. More than 35,000 people are expected to travel through RDU on each of these days. Peak travel times occur during the early morning from 5 to 8 a.m. and early evening from 3 to 7 p.m.

Special Holiday Services
RDU is rolling out special services this Thanksgiving to help passengers travel stress-free. Below are some of the ways we’re helping passengers navigate the airport on their way home for the holiday.

These services will be available on our peak travel days for Thanksgiving, including Nov. 18, 19, 20, 21, 25 and 26, with exceptions noted below.

Early Checkpoint Openings
On peak travel days, the Transportation Security Administration will open RDU’s checkpoints an extra half-hour early, at 3:30 a.m. The checkpoints will open at the regular 4 a.m. time on Sunday, Nov. 18.

Curbside Bag Assistance
Staff will be on hand at Terminals 1 and 2 to transfer passengers’ luggage from the car to the skycap stand or ticket counter. They will also assist with quickly obtaining a wheelchair. This is a free service to passengers. Therefore, staff is not permitted to accept tips.

White Glove Assistance
Between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on peak travel days, volunteers wearing white gloves will be located at the terminal entrances and in bag claim. These dedicated individuals will be ready to provide passengers with information and assistance as needed.

Complimentary Vehicle Assistance
RDU police officers will assist customers in our 11,000 space parking garage with free lockout and jumpstart services. If you need help while in the RDU parking garage, press one of the assistance buttons located throughout the garage or let our staff know at the Information Desks in bag claim.

If needed, the airport can contact AAA for additional car services, including towing, at the AAA rates.

Holiday Music Series
RDU’s holiday music series will begin on Mon., Nov. 19. During the Thanksgiving holiday travel period, 10 local musical groups will play in Terminals 1 and 2. View a complete schedule.

Top Travel Tips

Check flight status before leaving for the airport.
Weather here and in other parts of the country can impact flights. RDU recommends that travelers check their flight status by calling their airline’s customer service number or by visiting the airline’s website.
Place all valuables in your carry-on luggage.
Carry medicine, cash, jewelry, electronic devices and other important and valuable items with you onto the plane.
Arrive early.
RDU recommends arriving at the airport at least two hours before your flight begins boarding.
Limit liquids and gels in your carry-on luggage.
Remember these numbers: 3-1-1. Only liquids and gels in 3-ounce or smaller containers are permitted in carry-on luggage. All 3-ounce containers must fit in one clear, sealed plastic bag that is no larger than one quart. Place the bag in the gray bin at the checkpoint for inspection.
Limit carry-on items.
Each traveler is permitted to take one bag and one personal item, such as a purse or briefcase, through the security checkpoint.
Print out your boarding pass from your airline’s web site.
Most airlines allow passengers to print their boarding pass before coming to the airport.
Leave gifts unwrapped.
They may need to be unwrapped during the security screening process.
Follow electronic signs to available parking.
Electronic signs located at the airport will guide you to parking areas with available spaces.
Be prepared for security checkpoint.
Before proceeding through the checkpoint remove coats, jackets, blazers and shoes. All metal objects, including cell phones and pagers, should be placed in carry-on luggage or in the containers provided at the checkpoint. More information can be found on the TSA’s website.
Keep boarding passes and photo IDs out and visible.
Your boarding pass and ID will be needed throughout the security screening process.
Use ExitExpress to pay for parking.
If parking in the garage, remember to keep your parking ticket with you. Pay for parking at an ExitExpress pay station before returning to your car.
Tips for Families

Allow extra time for the security screening process when traveling with small children.
Remove babies and children from their infant carriers and strollers before proceeding through the metal detector.
Place all child-related luggage and equipment on the x-ray machine.
Make arrangements for children traveling alone. Only ticketed passengers are permitted past security checkpoint; however, arrangements may be made for non-travelers to accompany children. Contact your airline to make arrangements.
Follow RDU on Twitter
RDU is on Twitter at During the holiday season, RDU will post frequent information about impacts of weather on flights, holiday events and activities and travel tips.

View more travel tips.


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