Local News

RDU Gearing Up For Heavy Holiday Travel Season

Posted November 17, 2004 5:56 a.m. EST

— RDU International

is experiencing heavy traffic this year headed into the holiday season. The airport has more parking spaces, but more people plan to fly around Thanksgiving this year.

Airport officials expect 250,000 people to travel through the airport during the holiday next week, said Mindy Hamlin, a spokesperson for RDU.

Since last year, airlines added 45 more daily flights with some new destinations and bigger jets with more seats.

"The number one thing that people want is to get through the airport as quickly as possible with as little hassle as possible," Hamlin said. "It's very important for passengers to feel like they have some amount of control over how they get through the airport."

To make their trip go faster, airport officials are encouraging travelers to use Exit Express which allows them to pay for parking before leaving the terminal.

Electronic ticketing, which allows travelers to insert a credit card into a machine and get their boarding passes themselves, is also encouraged by airlines and the airport.

"Literally, I got right up to the terminal, pressed a couple of buttons and I was done," said Susan Samuel, a traveler.

Many airlines also allow passengers to print boarding passes from their personal computer. RDU officials suggest arriving two hours before a flight from the Friday before Thanksgiving to the Monday after.

The busiest days are Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving morning and the Sunday and Monday after the holiday.

The airport plans to entertain those who wait. A series of bluegrass groups will play throughout the week at the airport.