Airports and highways see major holiday traffic for first time in more than a year

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Vacationers are heading out to the airports and roadways in numbers not seen for more than a year.

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly stifled travel this time last year, but with vaccines available and cases dropping throughout the country, more people are deciding to take off for Memorial Day Weekend.

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The TSA said 1,854,534 people passed through airport checkpoints Thursday. That's the second most traveled day since the start of the pandemic--second only to May 23, which saw 9,163 more people.

This same time in 2020, just 320,000 people went through TSA checkpoints. TSA expects to have at least one day this holiday weekend where more than 2 million people pass through checkpoints.

Thursday morning saw long lines at Raleigh Durham International Airport--both because of an influx in passengers combined with a computer problem for check-in.

Friday morning saw lines forming at check-in before the sun came up.


Airport officials expect more than 221,000 people to fly through RDU this weekend. That number is significantly higher than last year, but still just a fraction of the number of people who traveled this holiday weekend in 2019.

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To help streamline your flight experience, RDU officials highly suggest booking your parking ahead of time. You can go online to reserve your choice of parking spot, which will save you both time and money.
Remember, if you're traveling this weekend, masks are still required at all times inside the airport and on airplanes.


Increased travel is not limited to just the skies. The roads will be busy this weekend too.

To help alleviate some of the traffic woes, NCDOT is halting all major road projects from Friday morning through Tuesday night.

AAA said it expects a 60 percent increase in traffic compared to this weekend last year.

North Carolina State Highway Patrol will be having a Click It or Ticket campaign during the holiday weekend. That means you'll see increased patrols all through the state, with troopers closely watching for unsafe driving.
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