MORRISVILLE, N.C. — Officials at Raleigh-Durham International Airport are preparing for the airport's busiest Thanksgiving in three years.
Nearly 300,000 people are expected to travel through RDU this holiday, marking a 15 percent increase over last year. The Thanksgiving travel period kicked off on Nov. 19 and runs through Monday.
Over the past year, airlines serving RDU have added 45 daily flights, increasing the number of seats available to holiday travelers.
The travel rush, which began Tuesday, is expected to continue Wednesday, Thanksgiving day, Sunday and Monday.
Holiday helpers will be stationed throughout the terminals on these days to assist travelers and can be identified by their blue RDU T-shirts. Employees will also be located in the airport's Park and Ride lots to help drivers locate their vehicles and assist with dead batteries, if needed.
RDU offers six top tips for holiday travelers:
Arrive early:RDU officials are recommending passengers arrive at the airport at least two hours before their flight departs to give themselves plenty of time for parking, luggage check-in and security screening.Follow Electronic Signs To Available Parking:RDU offers motorists more than 11,000 spaces located within walking distance of the terminals. In addition, Park and Ride Lots 3 and 4 will be open. Additional remote parking will be open when all other parking spaces have been filled.Pay For Parking With Exit Express:Motorists parking between the terminals are reminded to avoid the lines at the exit plaza by paying for parking using Exit Express. To use the automated payment program, motorists should keep their ticket with them and pay for parking before returning to their car. Exit Express pay stations are located along the pedestrian walkways between the terminals and parking garages.Print Your Boarding Pass Before Leaving For The Airport:Passengers with Internet access can save time at check-in by printing boarding pass from the airline's Web site. Travelers who are not checking luggage can bypass the ticketing counter if they have printed out their boarding pass.Use The Airlines' Electronic Kiosks:Passengers with electronic tickets are encouraged to use the airline's self-service kiosk to print boarding passes, choose seats and, where available, check luggage. Nine out of 10 airlines at RDU offer electronic check-in.Be Prepared For Security Checkpoint:Before proceeding through security checkpoint, travelers should remove coats, jackets, blazers and shoes. All metal objects should be placed in carry-on luggage. These items include cell phones, pagers, keys, large amounts of jewelry, large belt buckles and coins.
Other tips for security checkpoint include: Keeping boarding passes and photo IDs on hand until you have exited the security checkpoint. Removing all knives, scissors and blades of any type or size from your carry-on luggage. If taking these items with you, place them in your checked luggage. Leaving gifts unwrapped, as they may need to be opened and are subject to search.