Holiday travelers health-aware but undeterred as RDU in full swing

Josh Chapin Image
Thursday, December 23, 2021
Holiday travelers health-conscious but undeterred as RDU in full swing
The holiday travel season is in full swing at RDU International Airport even with rising fears of the Omicron variant

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The holiday travel season is in full swing at RDU International Airport even with rising concern about the Omicron variant

Experts suggest getting to the airport with as much time as possible and especially booking parking beforehand.

On Wednesday, lines to Central Parking were snarled. Only two lanes allowed for drive-up cars while the rest were for online bookings.

RDU expects 494,000 people to pass through the airport between Dec. 18 and Jan. 2.

"The flight wasn't as packed as I thought, so we had a little bit of wiggle room," said Jodi Adams, who flew in Wednesday from Newark to spend time with her sister for Christmas.

Adams said she didn't second guess coming down.

"We've been through so much," she said. "It's like if you want to get out, you just have to be careful about it, just be prepared, walk around with your sanitizer."

Nick Ewen, a senior editor with The Points Guy, said he believes people are continuing their plans if they are with other vaccinated individuals.

He said they've seen more cancellations with Omicron for people traveling internationally.

He himself postponed a trip to Europe.

"Prepare for the worst, hope for the best but expect something in between," Ewen said. "We're hopefully not going to see any airline meltdowns, any huge widespread issues but there's always a chance of weather and other operational concerns."

Ewen said if you're thinking about canceling your flight, some of the more restrictive economy tickets might not allow you to cancel for free.

Sometimes you might just get a voucher for a future trip.

"If you decide to cancel, I always recommend not canceling right away," he said. "Wait closer until your departure time to see if the airline winds up canceling the flight on their own."

He said in addition to extra time and patience, you should think long and hard about what you might need especially if you're traveling out of the country.

Different countries have different testing procedures and everyone, no matter their citizenship or vaccination status, needs a negative COVID-19 test when coming back to the US.

"Just wear your mask, I got all three shots," said Robert M., who was flying to Miami from RDU to see family for Christmas. "I'm not going to let it keep me prisoner, so I'm protected as much as I can be."