RDU Expects Nearly 600,000 Holiday Travelers

Season Extends Over 18 Days This Year

RDU anticipates 589,435 passengers will travel through the airport on their way to celebrate the winter holidays. Because Christmas Day falls on a Sunday this year, passenger traffic will be spread out over 18 days rather than 16 last year. The busy season began on Saturday, Dec. 17 and will end on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

“RDU expects to finish 2022 strong and ring in the New Year with the sight we enjoy seeing most – thousands of passengers traveling to celebrate the season with family and friends,” said Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “We wish everyone safe travels and we hope to see them even more often in 2023.”

The busiest travel day is expected to be Friday, Dec. 23, with 38,308 travelers. Sunday, Dec. 25 is projected to be the slowest day, with 24,836 passengers. Guests often expect the December holidays and New Year’s to be busier than Thanksgiving, but the daily totals are generally lower because travel is spread out over a few weeks instead of a few days.

On RDU’s busiest day during Thanksgiving week this year, the airport served 44,712 passengers – compared to the highest daily projection for Christmas week, which is 38,308. Overall, RDU expects to serve more guests over the December and January holiday period than during Thanksgiving week.

RDU has some travel tips to make sure your  trip runs smoothly this holiday season:

  • Make sure you book parking online at parkrdu.com at least 24 hours in advance of your trip. Your reservation guarantees you entry into the lot or deck of your choice.
  • It’s always a good practice to check with your airline on the day you’re traveling to make sure your flight is on time.
  • Don’t wrap presents you’re bringing in your carry-on bag. TSA may need to unwrap them when you go through the checkpoint. Your best bet is to wrap your gifts when you get to your destination.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport, check in, get through security and get to your gate on time. We recommend arriving two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international travel.