Photo of a passenger in a wheelchair in Terminal 2

Traveling With Disabilities

At Raleigh-Durham International Airport, we seek to ensure a smooth and stress-free travel experience for all travelers. If you have a question about traveling with a disability that is not answered below, please contact the Guest Experience team at (919) 840-2123. You can also view our other travel tips or contact your airline.

Handicap Parking Access
All RDU parking facilities have universally-accessible handicapped parking spaces. Find these spaces on all levels of the parking garage. Each shuttle serving the ParkRDU Economy lots is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Medicines must be professionally labeled by a pharmacy identifying the medication or a manufacturer’s name, as well as clearly displaying the passenger’s name.

Travelers are permitted to bring the following diabetes-related supplies and equipment through the checkpoint to be screened:

  • Insulin and insulin-loaded dispensing products (vials or box of individual vials, jet injectors, pens, infusers and preloaded syringes)
  • Unlimited number of unused syringes when accompanied by insulin
  • Lancets, blood glucose meters, blood glucose meter test strips, insulin pumps and insulin pump supplies

For more information, visit the TSA.

Mobility Aids
Assistance devices and mobility aids permitted through the security checkpoint include:

  • Augmentation and Communication Devices (e.g. Braille note takers, slate and stylus)
  • Body Braces
  • Canes
  • Crutches
  • Diabetes-Related Equipment and Supplies
  • Prosthetic Devices
  • Scooters
  • Service Dogs
  • Walkers
  • Wheelchairs

For more information, visit the TSA.

Service Animals
Designated service animal relief areas can be located on the Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 directories by the Service Animal symbol. RDU customers with pets are free to access these designated animal relief areas.

When traveling through the security checkpoint with a service animal:

  • Carry appropriate identification including: cards or documentation, a harness or markings on the harness tags.
  • Advise the screener of how you and your dog can go through the metal detector as a team while you continually maintain control of the dog with the leash and/or harness.

A TTY unit is located at each information desk in the bag claim area.

Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program

The Airport Authority has launched a new program to make RDU more inclusive and accommodating for travelers with hidden disabilities. The Sunflower Program offers free sunflower products to airport workers and guests that discreetly indicate the wearer may need extra assistance or time when traveling through the airport. The sunflower is a globally recognized symbol for non-visible disabilities, also known as hidden disabilities or invisible disabilities.

Many people have disabilities that aren’t obvious. Hidden disabilities include autism, chronic pain, and learning difficulties; mental health conditions, mobility and speech impairments; and sensory loss such as speech, sight loss, hearing loss, or deafness. They also include respiratory conditions as well as chronic conditions such as diabetes and sleep disorders when these significantly impact day-to-day life.

People with these disabilities often face barriers that can make routine tasks and everyday life more challenging. Travelers can choose to wear a sunflower product to discreetly indicate that they may require additional assistance, a little more compassion or time throughout their journey.

Sunflower products are available to anyone to make it easier for airport employees to identify people with hidden disabilities who may need extra time, assistance or support. Wearing the sunflower does not guarantee special treatment.

Free sunflower-branded lanyards, pins and other products are available at RDU Information Desks in Terminals 1 and 2. Guests may also contact the Airport Authority to make special arrangements for pick-up by calling (919) 840-2123.

Do you need a wheelchair upon arrival at RDU? There are several ways to obtain a wheelchair at the airport:

  • Request wheelchair assistance when making your reservations.
  • If you are flying in, please let your flight attendant know before landing.
  • Ask any skycap on the terminal curbside. They will contact your airline’s representative to bring one to your car.
  • Call ahead to RDU’s Guest Services at (919) 840-2123.
  • Visit the information desks, located in the bag claim area in each terminal.

TSA Cares

The Transportation Security Administration has a special program to assist travelers with a wide range of disabilities during their screening experience. Within 72 hours of your flight, call TSA Cares at (855) 787-2227 and make arrangements for assistance. TSA will provide an officer to meet your party after check-in and accompany your group through the screening process.

Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights describes the fundamental rights of air travelers with disabilities under the Air Carrier Access Act and its implementing regulation. Read the Bill of Rights on the USDOT website here.

Other Tips for Traveling with a Disability

  • If you require a companion or assistant to accompany you to your gate, contact your airline at the ticketing counter.
  • Carry-on bag limits do not apply to medical supplies, equipment, mobility aids and/or assistiance devices.
  • The screener will perform a hand inspection of your equipment if it cannot fit through the security equipment.
  • Once devices have been screened, screeners should hand back your device to you in such a manner that helps you proceed without difficulty.
  • Notify the screener if you have any implanted medical devices such as an artificial hip or knee, bone shafts, cranial plates, shrapnel, staples, pins or metal ports that may set off the alarm on the metal detector.