RDU rolls out new tech to make checkpoints easier just in time for July 4th travelers

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Thursday, June 30, 2022
RDU gears up for busy July 4th holiday passengers
Thursday marked the busiest day of travel at RDU just as the airport unveiled new technology aimed to make it easier at checkpoints, where passengers can keep large electronics and liquids in their bag.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- From a canceled Uber to a canceled flight, the Crafts thought they'd finally get to Florida on Thursday with a new ticket.

"That flight changed to 10:15 a.m.," Linda Craft said as soon as she came to the gate at RDU. "The flight had already left, our bags were still here. Thank goodness, because we thought they were going to be in Fort Lauderdale, and that's not where we really want to go."

Their original destination was Fort Myers, which they'll now be at after nearly 24 hours.

The cancellation and delay is part of an ongoing concern nationwide as airlines struggle to keep up with demand.

More than 1,000 flights were canceled since Wednesday, and nearly 7,000 flights were delayed in the U.S., according to FlightAware.

"Universally, airlines are having trouble with workforce, aircraft," RDU's Crystal Feldman said. "There's always weather consideration, so I think universally, everyone's having trouble with delays and cancellations. Again, we remind passengers to check with the airline ... to avoid coming back home."

The DOT said you're entitled to a refund if the airline canceled a flight or made a significant schedule change and the consumer chooses not to travel, among other situations. Those who purchased a non-refundable ticket are not entitled to a refund unless the airline makes a promise to provide a refund or the airline cancels a flight or makes a significant schedule change.

Thursday marks the busiest day of travel at RDU, with more than 40,000 passengers expected.

"Sharp increases in passenger volume also mean potentially longer wait times this holiday weekend, particularly during the early morning hours," Feldman said.

Julie Reneer flew to RDU from LAX Thursday morning.

"I had a red eye flight," Reneer said. "Which is kind of a little hectic. The plane was packed, booked, full."

As millions of Americans kick off the holiday weekend, RDU unveiled new technology on Thursday aimed to make it easier at checkpoints, where passengers can keep large electronics and liquids in their bag.

"It's a win-win for TSA and passengers," TSA federal security director Jennifer Gordon said.

The near pre-pandemic level of travel comes amid higher flight prices. AAA finds the average lowest airfare is 14% more than than last year coming in at $201/ticket.

"To Baltimore recently, and usually that direct flight is around $100 and it was almost $300," Linda Craft said.

Despite all the things the Crafts went through on Thursday, they remained in good spirits.

"Seeing how there's so many people waiting in line because they're having to rebook," Linda's husband said. "You feel sorry for them, because they're working so hard and understaffed. Just be kind."