234,000 travelers expected through RDU for Thanksgiving holiday

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- RDU Airport Authority CEO Michael Landguth announced on Wednesday that the airport expects to see 234,000 travelers through both terminals the week of Thanksgiving.

Per RDU, the travel week for Thanksgiving runs Monday through Sunday.

The figure by Landguth is reportedly a 129% increase compared to the same travel period in 2020.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving is expected to be the busiest travel day.

"I would say plan ahead," said frequent traveler Katie Strange. "More people are being vaccinated. Things are opening back up more."

Landguth said to prepare for the increase, employees will be directed out of the economy three lot and instead pushed to park at a different lot. This will open up an additional 1,000 spaces for travelers.

Also, the airport plans to increase the cost of parking in its central garage to $15 an hour. Landguth said the increase brings rates back to pre-pandemic levels and better allows for the airport to prepare for its Vision 2040 plan.

"We need to begin the planning and implementation phase of that program," he said. "We need to be prepared long-term for that economic growth."

READ MORE: NC health experts say get vaccinated, enjoy Thanksgiving

One retired couple left for Colorado on Wednesday to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with one of their children.
The last time Nancy and her husband flew out of RDU, she says, "I drove around and around and around looking for a space."

This time, she opted to park at a nearby hotel for a lower rate and take its free shuttle.

"Truthfully, I had tried economy parking and it is not user-friendly," she said. "It's off a ways, you have to wait for a shuttle to come, it's not well-lit, so I would prefer not to go to economy."

Landguth said to avoid the hassle, book parking at the airport's parking website at least 24 hours advance to secure a spot.

"You wouldn't come to the airport and book your ticket the day you'll leave, right," asked Landguth. "Same concept. Book your parking the same way."

Landguth expects the parking lots to be at or near full capacity next Tuesday or Wednesday.
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