Parking at the airport has been hard to come by for weeks, with the parking deck frequently full to capacity and travelers forced to park in the Economy 3 lot.
Two of the airport's lots, RDU Express and Economy 4, have been closed for much of the pandemic. There is no timetable for when either lot will reopen.
Furthermore, the airport is expecting a busy holiday travel season after a slammed October with more than 930,000 passengers flying in and out, and prices for parking will increase to pre-pandemic rates starting Friday, November 19:
- Premier: $18/day booked online, $22/day drive up
- Central: $12/day booked online, $15/day drive up
- Economy 3: $10/day
"It's expensive, it definitely is expensive," said traveler Erica Petersohn. "I'm glad I didn't park at the Premier."
Stephanie Hawco, an RDU representative, said the reason for the price increase was the rise in passenger traffic. She said the airport authority wanted to be sure all travelers have an option to park.
Hawco added that employees will no longer park in Economy 3 and will now move to Economy 4 lot.
"We are going to get about 1,000 extra spaces that way," Hawco said.
Petersohn said she didn't mind the extra few dollars, but said any more wouldn't be appropriate.
The airport authority recommends booking parking more than 24 hours in advance online to ensure a spot and the lowest daily rate available. Real-time parking information is also available online and via electronic road signs around the airport's campus.
Hawco suggests holiday travelers arrive early to plan extra time for parking and try to book their spot online to save time and money.