Local News

Holiday travel season officially takes off

Posted December 19, 2007 1:45 p.m. EST
Updated November 18, 2008 12:20 p.m. EST

— Wednesday began the official year-end travel period at RDU International Airport, and highway traffic will not be far behind.

The airport authority said it expects more than 300,000 passengers to pass through the airports doors in the two-week period that ends Wednesday, Jan. 2.

Folks do not spread out their travel, however, and officials expect the busiest days to be this coming Friday and Sunday and, after Christmas, Dec. 27 and 28 and Jan. 2.

Even with the large numbers, however, AAA Carolinas predicted Wednesday that air travel this holiday season would be down a sliver – 0.2 percent – from last year because of air fares that are an average 16 percent higher than in 2006.

Partly as a consequence, the auto organization said, pre-season surveys showed road travel will be up 1.5 percent this year even though gasoline prices are 30 percent higher.

The North Carolina state average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.95 with the lowest metro average found in Wilmington at $2.91. Boone has the highest average of $3.031 for a gallon of self-serve, regular, unleaded gasoline.

Nonetheless, the AAA said it expects 1.64 million North Carolinians and 808,000 South Carolinians to take to the roads. It would be the fifth straight year of more holiday auto travel in the Carolinas, the AAA said.

For air travelers, RDU officials say you can make your trip go more smoothly by:

  • checking your flight's status before coming to the airport
  • printing your boarding pass at home or work
  • limiting liquids and gels in carry-on luggage
  • not wrapping gifts before you get to your destination, because wrapped gifts may be unwrapped during security screening