RDU Expects More Than 286,000 Travelers over Thanksgiving Weekend 

Airport Could Top Previous Passenger Traffic Record by Nearly 10% 

RDU expects more than 143,000 people to travel through the TSA security checkpoints from Wed., Nov. 22 to Mon., Nov. 27, bringing a total of 286,000 people through the airport for the Thanksgiving holiday. Projections show passenger traffic could top the record set in 2019 by nearly 10 percent and outpace 2022 by 27 percent. 

“We are looking forward to helping families and friends connect this Thanksgiving weekend as travelers fly in and out of the Triangle region,” said Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “We expect record traffic this holiday season and encourage all travelers to arrive early and follow RDU’s travel tips for a smooth journey.” 

The busiest day at RDU is expected to be Sunday, Nov. 26, followed by Wednesday, Nov. 22 and Monday, Nov. 27. RDU will increase staffing for its Guest Experience team during peak travel hours and is working with business partners including the airlines and TSA to prepare for the influx of passengers.  

“TSA at RDU is prepared for what we expect to be one of our busiest holiday travel periods ever,” said Jennifer Gordon, TSA Federal Security Director for Eastern North Carolina Airports. “In order to ensure a stress-free travel experience, we ask passengers to arrive inside the terminal at least two hours prior to departure time, and double check carry-on bags to ensure there are no prohibited items.” 

The expectation for a record-breaking number of holiday travelers this year makes it more important than ever to follow some simple travel tips: 

  • Book Parking Online: travelers can book parking at parkrdu.com for guaranteed entry into the deck or lot of their choice. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance.  
  • Try New Options: ParkRDU Express recently reopened, expanding parking by 1,000 spaces. ParkRDU Express is a convenient trunk-to-terminal service that offers airport guests assistance with their luggage and a direct shuttle to the terminals. The Express lot is located on International Drive near Park Economy 4. 
  • Get There Early: Travelers should allow plenty of time to park, check in and go through security. RDU recommends arriving two hours early for domestic flights and three hours in advance for international flights. Airlines begin boarding 30 – 40 minutes before departure, so start your trip off right by getting to the gate early. 
  • Use the Cell Lot: If you are picking someone up from the airport, use our free Cell Lot to make curbside pickup run smoothly. Follow the signs on campus the lot, located at 1000 Trade Drive, then wait for a call or text letting you know your loved one has arrived. Be sure to give them 30 minutes after their arrival time to pick up their bags and meet you on the curb. To ease congestion at Terminal 2, you can pick passengers up at the arrivals or departures curb.