Changes at RDU could impact holiday travel
Posted November 22, 2011
Updated November 23, 2011
Morrisville, N.C. — The holiday travel season in under way at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, and changes, both to the terminal at RDU and to Transportation Security Administration screening procedures, could make traveling a little more complex.
More than 200,000 people are expected to travel through the airport between Tuesday and Nov. 28. Duke University sophomore Tim Johnson is one of them.
“I’m going to Chicago, going home for Thanksgiving,” Johnson said Tuesday.
US Airways, Continental and Jet Blue have moved to the new Terminal 2. Air Tran and Southwest Airlines are still located in Terminal 1, but the tunnel from the parking lot to Terminal 1 is closed for renovation.
There is a covered walkway at ground level that leads passengers from the garage to the terminal.
Changes to the security screening process, especially for children, could actually make getting to the gate a little easier. Children under 12 are now allowed to leave their shoes on throughout the screening process.
TSA officials have also upgraded body scanners to ease concerns about what screeners can see under clothing.
“It is a generic gingerbread image, and it is the same for every individual,” RDU spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said.
Aside from those small changes, the security screening process is the same. Valuables and medications should be kept in carry-on luggage. Coats, shoes and belts must be removed in the security line for everyone over 12 years old.
Laptops must be removed from cases, and liquids must still be contained in three-ounce containers inside a one-quart clear Ziploc bag.
As always, airport officials recommend passengers arrive at RDU at least two hours before their flight is scheduled to board. Many airlines begin boarding flights at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time.
Johnson said planning ahead makes the process easier for everyone.
“I try to make sure I have my boarding pass, my ID,” he said. “I try to make sure people aren’t waiting for me.”
Airport officials say the busiest travel days will be Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by Saturday and Sunday. Peak travel times occur from 5 to 8 a.m. and from 3 to 7 p.m.
RDU has a complete list of tips designed to make traveling easier on its website.
For those taking to the roads, the state Department of Transportation suggests use of a smart phone to avoid delays. The DOT publishes alerts for highway, ferry and train traffic for mobile devices. On Twitter, the DOT offers updates by route and by region.