Hurry Up and Wait at Airport
Posted December 19, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
DURHAM — Traffic started picking up at Raleigh-Durham International Airport last Friday. Well over 150,000 people will travel through RDU between now and New Year's.
Airport officials are predicting that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week will be the busiest of the Christmas travel season.
If you're traveling through RDU during this busy holiday season, bring your Christmas attitude and plan on spending plenty of time in line.
It's taking some travelers an hour just to check in at the ticket counter. At this time of year, getting home for the holidays can be a real hassle.
Traveler Dana Reid knows the reality. "Just packed airports, rushing from plane to plane, not knowing where you're going."
Experts say you should allow yourself plenty of time to get to the airport, check in, and find your gate. Alice Tien did, and used the extra time to serenade other travelers with the accordion she brought along, so that she "can keep practicing during my trip."
Cassie Marks is also packing something unusual -- her pet Pekinese.
"I just shove her right in her soft-side travel case and then I zip her up, and she's all ready to go. Oh, it's hectic but I don't go anywhere without her. She has to go because she's part of me and Christmas."
Marks and furry friend are headed for Florida.
"These bags been in your possession ever since you packed them? No strangers have asked you to carry anything on the aircraft?" asks a luggage handler of every passenger he deals with.
Tightened security might also slow you down. RDU is especially cautious about bags and packages because of the attacks on Iraq.
Airport officials suggest you arrive two hours before your flight time.
Carolyn Askew and her friends decided to be safe, rather than sorry. "We wanted to make sure that we didn't run into any difficulty because you can't really anticipate what may go wrong. And we didn't want to take a chance on missing our flight because of the fact that holidays are very booked."
Parking is always a problem and airport officials are suggesting you go straight to Park and Ride if you're traveling on Wednesday or Thursday.
And they want you to park in the hourly lot if you're picking someone up, so they don't get cars piled up in front of the terminals.