With air travel rising, here's how to beat long lines this holiday season

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- RDU officials expect more than 290,000 passengers to fly through the airport this week, a three-percent increase compared with the same week last year.

A similar trend is occurring nationally, where AAA estimates 4.45 million Americans will fly this week, nearly a five-percent increase from last year. AAA reports air travel has seen the most percentage increase compared to automobile and train travel.

With that in mind, travelers at RDU are taking steps to avoid missing their flights.

"Definitely extra time. Definitely trying to combine luggage as much as possible. The more carry-ons the better," said Darren Tyler, who was traveling with his family.

"I think it's kind of crowded actually, already since it's still early. I can't imagine what it's going to look like later, tomorrow," Linda Klingel added.

Though passengers traditionally fret over long wait times at the checkpoint, RDU officials are urging people to account for the entire process just to get to the airport.

On Tuesday, ABC11 timed out how long it took to get from downtown Raleigh to the airport using an economy lot.

We left at 11 a.m., and it took 20 minutes to get to the Park RDU Economy 3 (located along National Guard Drive near Sheetz). From there, it took about 10 1/2 minutes to find a parking spot, wait and get on the shuttle, and arrive at Terminal 1. It took about four more minutes to get to Terminal 2. Lines moved quickly through the late morning and early afternoon, with people waiting about 5 minutes to get through TSA.

However, those lines got longer later in the afternoon, especially with people checking their bags.

"Getting up in the morning, going to work, looking forward to see who you're going to run into. Or what type of family -- is there going to be excitement? "Oh, we're flying to Disney for Thanksgiving or the holidays!' So it's exciting - it's very fun," said Kelvin Robinson, an employee with Spirit Airlines.

As of Tuesday morning, Park RDU Express was full, though already booked-online reservations are still being honored.

In order to prepare with longer wait-times, passengers are encouraged to arrive two hours before their flight.

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