Travelers brace for busy Easter holiday weekend at RDU

Michael Perchick Image
Saturday, March 30, 2024
Travelers brace for busy holiday weekend
Millions of travelers are making their way to their destinations ahead of the Easter holiday weekend.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Rerouting a flight was not part of Chrishana Wilson's initial itinerary.

"It was pretty bad. We got here around 7:00, and then we had to stand in line for two hours, and now we're not going to get to our destination until almost midnight, and we should've gotten there around noon," said Wilson.

The travel snafu has meant missing one event this evening and has Wilson second-guessing traveling during spring break in the future.

According to FlightAware, there were 44 total delays at RDU Friday (as of 4:30 PM), split between 23 departures and 21 arrivals, though no cancellations. While passenger counts picked up in mid-afternoon, check-in and baggage claim lines at Terminal 2 remained fairly short, with TSA moving swiftly.

"I'd love to be going to Cancun, Mexico but we're going to Phoenix, Arizona instead. And it's not crazy at the airport actually. Surprisingly we thought these lines would be insane, but they're actually very tolerable, and all the people are super helpful. Most helpful, wonderful people in North Carolina. This airport is amazing," said Todd Cohen.

Travelers visiting the Triangle shared their holiday weekend plans.

"We are looking forward to Sunday going to church for that Resurrection Sunday. Saturday, we'll go on and have some fun and then have a family dinner together," said Theo Nartey, who traveled from Ghana to Maryland to meet with his daughter, before heading down with her today to see more family.

"We can spend time together and create memories," added his daughter Kejiah.

ALSO SEE:What's open, closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday 2024

Keshia Halls and her son Jedidiah are traveling from New York for a family birthday and Easter celebrations.

"It's important to spend time with your loved ones while they're here. So we're just celebrating life, celebrating our family, getting together, playing games, enjoying catching up, because we don't always get to do that, especially being in New York with the hustle and bustle, you know, coming down here to a more family-oriented place, it's good to just talk about and catch up with our family," said Keshia.

"I want to play with my cousins, and eat birthday cake with Papa," said Jedidiah.

At the airport, on-site parking remains largely available. While Economy 3 is full, there is limited space at RDU Premier and RDU Central, with plenty of spots at RDU Express and Economy 4. Travelers can book parking online 24 hours in advance.

There will also be a terminal change coming out of the holiday weekend, with Breeze Airways utilizing Terminal 1 beginning Tuesday, April 2.

For those hitting the roads, AAA reports gas prices are up about 10 cents from a month ago, though fairly flat compared to a year ago. Drivers can typically get cheaper rates in the Sandhills region while paying more as they travel northward.

"You can expect traffic. I would say give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. We know that people are going to be traveling to our area beaches, are going to be going to the mountains. When we're talking about domestically within the United States, the top destination always is Orlando. People want to go see Mickey," said Tiffany Wright, Director of Public Affairs for AAA - The Auto Club Group.

While AAA does not release a travel forecast for the Easter holiday, Wright said based on patterns during the spring break stretch, they are anticipating a busy Memorial Day weekend.

"Travel has just bounced back in such a big way, not even just domestically, but international travel. We look at the bookings. People aren't just traveling in the United States. They're going abroad. Cruises have bounced back in a big way. People are looking to travel and they want to do so with grandma and grandpa," Wright shared. "We're seeing a lot of multigenerational travel. People want to do so with the entire family, and cruising is one way that you can do that. There's something for everyone."