Travel warning doesn't deter RDU vacationers

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A police officer patrols at RDU.

The Thanksgiving holiday travel season is already underway and like so many airports, the Raleigh Durham International Airport is full of people heading out of town for the holidays.

Some are even heading out of the country.

"We're going on vacation and we're seeing a friend renew her wedding vows," said Mary Beth Welch.

Welch is leaving the Triangle with her children, Coner and Hope, to spend the next five days in Prague.

"I've never been to Europe and I'm super excited to go abroad," said Welch's son Coner.

The family is looking forward to the trip and not letting the recent warning from the U.S. State Department ruin their plans.

Just recently, authorities with the State Department have confirmed increased threats from militants with the Islamic State, al-Qaida, Boko Haram and other groups. The State Department warns Americans should be on be on high alert for possible risks as extremists have targeted major venues and heavily traveled areas, such as transportation hubs.

"I feel like appropriate measures have been taken everywhere, so I feel pretty confident," said Welch.

Sarah Moore and her family echo that confidence as they get ready to leave for a three week adventure to Romania, Austria and Hungary.

"Just show up prepared and have everything ready to go," said Moore.

East Carolina University student Gerald Garvey is flying home to New York and said the increased security had him showing up earlier than normal.

"I definitely took that into account," said Garvey.

"As we approach the busy holiday travel season, I want to assure the public that TSA is taking every measure to protect the millions of air travelers in the coming weeks and to secure our aviation system," said TSA Administrator Peter V. Neffenger. "The U.S. has the safest aviation security system in the world. TSA employs a robust security system involving multiple elements of security, both seen and unseen, to protect the traveling public."

Airport spokespersons said Tuesday, November 24 through Sunday, November 30 is their biggest travel time and expect more than 265,000 people to fly to and from RDU during that time.

To keep everything running smooth so authorities can focus on security they share these travel tips:

  • Arrive early: RDU recommends arriving at least two hours before your flight is scheduled to board. Passengers should check their flight status before leaving for the airport. Passengers can also follow RDU on Twitter for information on weather impacts, holiday events and travel tips at @RDUairport


  • Parking at RDU: Daily parking in the garage and Park and Ride 3 may fill up on peak days due to the number of passengers traveling this year. Motorists are advised that additional parking is available in Park and Ride 4 located in the cargo area. More parking information can be found on RDU's web site.


  • Be prepared for security checkpoint:
    Before proceeding through the checkpoint, remove coats, jackets, blazers and shoes. All metal objects, including cell phones and laptops, should be placed in carry-on luggage or in the containers provided at the checkpoint. More information can be found on the TSA's website.


  • Place all valuables in your carry-on luggage.
    Carry medicine, cash, jewelry, electronic devices and other important and valuable items with you onto the plane.


  • Limit liquids and gels in your carry-on luggage.
    Remember these numbers: 3-1-1. Only liquids and gels in 3.4-ounce or smaller containers are permitted in carry-on luggage. All containers must fit in one clear, sealed plastic bag that is no larger than one quart. Place the bag in the gray bin at the checkpoint for inspection.


  • Limit carry-on items.
    Each traveler is permitted to take one bag and one personal item, such as a purse or briefcase, through the security checkpoint.


  • Follow electronic signs to available parking.
    Electronic signs located at the airport will guide you to parking areas with available spaces.


  • Tips for Families

  • Allow extra time for the security screening process when traveling with small children.

  • Remove babies and children from their infant carriers and strollers before proceeding through the metal detector.

  • Place all child-related luggage and equipment on the x-ray machine.

  • Make arrangements for children traveling alone. Only ticketed passengers are permitted past security checkpoint; however, arrangements may be made for non-travelers to accompany children. Contact your airline to make arrangements.


  • For more travel tips, visit www.rdu.com.
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