5 On Your Side

What to expect when flying out of RDU International

Posted July 15, 2020 4:53 p.m. EDT
Updated July 15, 2020 8:02 p.m. EDT

— After a rock bottom two months, more flights are taking off and arriving at Raleigh-Durham International Airport -- that means more passengers.

In June, 5 On Your Side's Monica Laliberte showed the limited coronavirus security measures in place in the terminals.

Airport leaders invited 5 On Your Side back to show what they've changed since then.

Expect COVID-19 safety changes at RDU

"We're not taking any chances," said passenger Richie-Ann Jackson.

Wearing a face mask, face shield and a rain shield over the stroller, Jackson flew to Raleigh so her newborn daughter could meet her grandmother.

"We tried to be as safe as possible," she said.

5 On Your Side found most passengers wearing masks.

Those who don't have one, can get one free of charge.

"We received a huge shipment from FEMA, so any customer that does not have a mask, we can provide one to them," said airport spokeswoman Crystal Feldman.

She showed 5 On Your Side the COVID-19 safety improvements made since our initial story.

For one, the airport added hand sanitizer stations, with signs pointing them out.

"We ordered more, but because of the demand, they've been back ordered," said Feldman.

To help with social distancing, some check-in kiosks are closed.

While there are floor sticker reminders at RDU International, they're not everywhere. They are not even in the Transportation Security Administration line.

Feldman says there's a reason.

"We also want it to be a clean, well maintained, welcoming experience and it would be a little cluttered if we had stickers every six feet," she said.

Which is also why they added limited reminders in seating areas, including on a few seats.

"We only have a handful in each gate waiting area because it's really intended to be a reminder to maintain six feet of distance between parties that you're not traveling with," said Feldman.

More, but not all, restaurants and shops are open, offering touchless payment.

Passenger traffic is about 20% of what it was pre-COVID, but it's up from the low of 3% in April and May.

"We are thinking six months ahead, because if our numbers continue to grow, distancing will be a challenge," said Feldman. "I think when we get to about 50% capacity we're gonna be having an issue on, where do people stand if they're waiting to go into the security checkpoint lines."

RDU International says they've stepped up cleaning of all the touch points: handrails, kiosks and elevator buttons.

They're also deep cleaning at night.

The TSA now allows you to carry on 12 ounces of hand sanitizer, and all airlines that fly out of RDU require you wear a mask.

With masks on and sanitizer handy, plan for the new way of travel.

"Maybe this is the answer for now, until we find a permanent answer," added Jackson.

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