Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) is preparing for a potentially record-breaking Memorial Day travel weekend, with plans to manage growth and busy summer travel. RDU has added four new airlines over the past year, and in 2023, they’ve added 35 routes, including 20 to new destinations. They’ve also added improvements to their terminals, including expanding the Terminal 2 security checkpoint and new technology like the Clear Biometrics ID program. To make things easier, the TSA will allow teenagers under 17 to use TSA PreCheck with their parents traveling on the same reservation. RDU advises passengers to arrive early, check parking, and download their airline’s mobile app.
As covered by travel experts, this year’s Memorial Day weekend could be the busiest since 2005. With the increase in travel, airports are preparing for the influx of passengers. Leaders from Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) have explained how they plan to keep travel going smoothly after some passengers were left stranded last Memorial Day due to understaffing and record delays.
Crystal Feldman, Vice-President of Communications for the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, stated at a press conference on Thursday that “RDU has returned to the fast-paced growth we experienced before the pandemic. In fact, this summer we could exceed the record number of passengers we served during the same months in 2019.”
To manage the growth and busy summer travel, RDU has added four new airlines over the past year and plans to add 35 routes, including 20 to new destinations, by 2023. They have also added international flights to the Bahamas and Iceland and expanded the number of flights to popular domestic locations. Additionally, RDU has made improvements to their terminals, including expanding the Terminal 2 security checkpoint and adding new technology like the Clear Biometrics ID program. They plan to add gates, increase parking options, and improve their roadway. RDU also hopes to break ground on the replacement of their primary runway later this year and add new dining options inside the terminals.
However, travel experts still warn that passengers need to reset their expectations and prepare for wait times. Friday and Monday will be the busiest days at RDU, with nearly 49,000 travelers on Friday and more than 44,000 on Monday. To ensure a smooth holiday travel experience, RDU recommends arriving early, at least two hours for domestic flights and three hours for international flights. Passengers should also visit RDU.com before arrival to check parking and check TSA policies on what can come into carry-on bags. Starting to pack from an empty bag and checking kids’ bags before traveling to ensure they did not pack prohibited items can also help avoid delays. Downloading the airline’s mobile app can also provide information about the flight and manage reservations. Lastly, keeping an eye on the weather in the departing city can help avoid any potential delays or cancellations.
Considering all of the evidence, RDU has taken significant steps to prepare for the increase in travel this Memorial Day weekend. However, passengers must also take responsibility for their travel experience and prepare accordingly to avoid delays and ensure a smooth journey. By following the tips provided by RDU, passengers can enjoy a stress-free holiday travel experience.