Crowds remain bearable at RDU despite holiday travel influx

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Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Crowds remain bearable at RDU despite holiday travel influx
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More than 330,000 people are expected to walk through the doors at RDU this week.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The holiday travel rush is underway with experts predicting this could be one of the busiest travel days in years.

More open TSA lines might have been the key Wednesday at Raleigh-Durham International Airport to keeping lines from growing to unbearable lengths.

Holiday travel can look like long lines and busy airports but today at RDU it mostly looked like family reunions.

"It's actually been over two years. It's been a long time," Hayley Herndon said.

Herndon, who flew in from Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday, greeted her mother with flowers in hand.

"I think this holiday season's definitely a relief for a lot of people since COVID's gone down in numbers so much and restrictions have been lifted," Herndon said. "I think it definitely feels a lot more normal for people so that's exciting."

For Dan Ross, who flew in from Dallas/Fort Worth, it's his kids' first time flying to see their grandparents.

"We finally got them in the plane for the first time since COVID," Ross said. "They're very excited to come see grandma and grandpa. They've never been to North Carolina. It's always my parents coming to Dallas-Fort Worth area, so we're excited to finally get them to come to Raleigh and see the area."

NC State student Jana Wildy left Wednesday for Atlanta to spend Thanksgiving with her family.

"I'm really thankful to be able to go home and see my family," Wildy said. "This year has been tumultuous for a lot of people, and so I know that me and all of my friends as well are just really looking forward to going home and spending time with our family and friends."

Aaron Schoonmaker arrived at RDU with his two kids who were excited to greet grandma, aunt and cousins.

"It's good to get everybody together," Schoonmaker said. "It's a good time for it and the travel feels like a lot easier. We're happy to host at the house and it's fun cooking. It's something we missed, cooking for a lot of people."

Even with his excitement, Schoonmaker's aware of the recent tragedies in Raleigh, from the mass shooting in October, to the deadly Raleigh Christmas parade accident.

However, this year has made Schoonmaker more thankful for tomorrow's gathering.

"I think a big part of it is showing the kids we are together we are family," Schoonmaker said. "Overall happiness is what we're thinking. Just to being able to get together is always good."