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Holiday travel begins for thousands at RDU

Posted November 23

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— About 35,000 people are expected to travel through Raleigh-Durham International Airport over the holiday weekend, and many packed the airport throughout the day on Wednesday.

The height of the rush at RDU lasted until about 7:30 p.m. and while travelers seemed calm, security lines were long.

In addition to the typical rush, RDU is expected to handle 2,500 more passengers this Thanksgiving weekend in comparison to 2015. RDU spokesman Andrew Sawyer said the increase is a result of growth in the Triangle.

"In the past few years, airlines have been adding flights pretty constantly," he said. 'As those seats become available for our customers, our customers are flying."

Nearly every flight moving through the airport over the weekend will be filled to capacity, so travelers should plan to arrive at the airport a few hours early and check the RDU website for the status on parking lots.

“All of our partners at TSA and the airlines are fully staffed. People are arriving early, they are allowing that extra time to get in through checkout lines and security, and we really appreciate that,” said Sawyer.

To eliminate traffic issues, RDU also offers a cell-phone lot where people picking up friends and family can wait until the person calls and then drive up to the terminal to get them. Many, however, opted to greet their loved ones inside the airport with arms wide open.

Marie Alesis traveled from Miami and said that even though the airport and plane were packed, the trip went smooth.

"As a matter of fact, I thought it would be worse than that, but it was like flowing," she said.

The Parker family arrived at RDU from Los Angeles and said their flight actually touched down earlier than expected.

"Fifteen minutes early and it was well worth the journey," said Christina Parker.

Laura Beattie may have logged the most miles, beginning her Thanksgiving journey in Sydney, Australia, but said she had no serious problems on her trip.

'I flew to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Miami, Miami to Raleigh," she said. "I am just about tired now, so I am glad to see my brother.

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