RDU Expects Holiday Travel to Set Record December

2019 on Track to be RDU’s Busiest Year Ever

The holiday travel season is in full swing at RDU, with more than one million passengers expected to fly through the airport in December. Passenger volume for the month is predicted to reach 1.2 million travelers, up seven percent over December 2018. Last year, 12.8 million people traveled through RDU and that number is expected to exceed 14 million in 2019.

“This month is predicted to be the busiest December in the airport’s history and is likely to push RDU into record territory for 2019,” said Crystal Feldman, vice president of communications, government and community affairs at the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “With more than a million travelers expected to fly through RDU in December, we urge travelers to arrive at least two hours early to park, get through security and walk to their gates on time.”

The busiest days of the month are projected to be Dec. 22 and 23, the Sunday and Monday before Christmas. Jan. 5, the Sunday following New Year’s, is also expected to be a busy travel day.

Holiday traffic has already hit one record high in December. RDU set a single-day record on Dec. 1 – the Sunday after Thanksgiving – with an all-time high of approximately 54,800 passengers traveling through the airport in one day.


New Ways to Save at the Shops of RDU. RDU launched a new digital coupon book Friday called the RDU Savings Passport. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, shopping for in-flight entertainment, or simply wanting to treat yourself, the RDU Savings Passport offers exclusive deals and discounts when shopping and dining in our terminals. Passports are free and instantly delivered to your mobile device via text or email. Travelers can sign-up via text or at RDU.com.

Pack Smart. Do not wrap gifts you plan to pack in your carry-on bag. Wrapped presents may need to be unwrapped for inspection by TSA at the security checkpoint. TSA recommends you bring gift bags or wrap your presents once you arrive at your destination.

If you aren’t sure whether an item should go in your checked bag or your carry-on, or whether you’re allowed to pack it at all, there are several ways to find out:

  • Visit tsa.gov and click the “What Can I Bring?” tab. From there you can type in the name of the item you want to pack.
  • For items not listed online, simply snap a picture or send a question to AskTSA on Facebook Messenger or Twitter.
  • You can also download the free “My TSA” app to learn about what’s safe to pack.

Parking Made Easy. Travelers are encouraged to use RDU’s new parking features this holiday season, including our online booking system. Customers who book their parking in advance at ParkRDU.com will get the lowest price available and guaranteed entry into the lot of their choice – even if our new electronic parking signs say the lot is full. We also have a new parking option called ParkRDU Express. It’s a mid-priced parking option that features trunk-to-terminal service every five minutes.

If you’re picking up passengers at RDU, we recommend using our free Cell Phone Lot, which is only two minutes away from the terminals. Follow the signs from the airport entrances and ask your party to call you after they pick up their bags. If you’d rather go inside to pick someone up, you can now park at hourly rates in all of our lots.