Thanksgiving Traffic Expected to Set Passenger Record at RDU

Don’t be a Turkey: Arrive Early, Pack Smart

The bustling holiday travel season is underway at RDU and more than 290,000 passengers are expected to fly through the airport this week, an approximate three percent increase over the same week last year. Sunday, Dec. 1 could be the busiest day in the airport’s history, with 232 total departures and an estimated 54,000 passengers flying to and from their holiday destinations. Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday are expected to be the busiest travel days Thanksgiving week.

“With the anticipated record-breaking number of travelers in our parking lots, terminals and security lanes, we encourage everyone to arrive at the airport at least two hours early,” said Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “Travelers can spend any extra time using our new, free Wi-Fi service, browsing our award-winning shops and enjoying the local flavors in our restaurants.”

New Parking Options, More Security Lanes: the launch of an online booking system for airport parking and the opening of two new security lanes in Terminal 2 earlier this year will make travel at RDU more convenient this holiday season. Customers who book their parking in advance at will get the lowest price available and guaranteed entry into the lot of their choice.

RDU also added two new lanes to the TSA checkpoint at Terminal 2 to help keep passengers moving through security. Two more security lanes are under construction and will open in 2019 to accommodate the approximately seven million travelers TSA screens at RDU each year.

Pack Smart, Stay Safe: be prepared to go through security by making sure you don’t have any prohibited items in your bags. You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag, but they are limited to travel-sized containers that hold 3.4 ounces or less per item. Placing these items in your quart-sized bag and separating them from your carry-on baggage facilitates the screening process. Any items that are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces need to go in your checked baggage.

Travelers must have proper ID to get through airport security, such as a driver’s license, U.S. passport or other state photo ID issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

As always, passengers can bring pies, cakes and other baked goods through the security checkpoints, but liquids such as eggnog and maple syrup, and gels such as preserves and jellies, should go into checked bags.

Get on Board with REAL ID: beginning Oct. 1, 2020, passengers at RDU and all U.S. airports will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or other federally-approved form of ID to board a flight. Passengers who do not have a N.C. REAL ID or other accepted form of identification such as a valid passport or U.S. military ID will not be allowed to pass through the security checkpoint. It is important for travelers to get the new ID well in advance to avoid any last-minute rush or risk being turned away at the airport. The REAL ID will not be required for driving. Read more about the N.C. REAL ID.