Busy 4th of July travel weekend at RDU

RALEIGH, NC – Passengers are roaring into the summer travel season as planes continue to soar in and out of Raleigh-Durham International Airport.


What do you want to know

  • More than 182,000 passengers are expected to fly to or from Raleigh-Durham International Airport for the holiday weekend
  • Shinese and Donnie Glass will be among them
  • Flight prices have risen, in part due to demand

Airport staff are expecting a busy holiday weekend.

Donnie and Shinese Glass were looking forward to flying out on Friday afternoon. They flew from RDU to New Orleans for the return of the Essence Festival.

“(It’s nice) to have the chance to come out, and this is the first time Essence (Festival) has taken place in two years,” Shinese Glass said.

COVID-19 led to the cancellation of the cultural and musical event for two years.

“We’re a little excited,” she said.

Thursday marked the busiest day for air travel at the start of a July 4 weekend in at least four years, with 2,444,471 people passing through security at US airports, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Related: Vacation getaway pushes US airport traffic to pandemic high

Websites such as FlightAware track destinations in America and overseas. The pandemic has left airlines understaffed for more than two years for many reasons, in part because pilots are leaving the company. Operational challenges have also forced airlines to choose more profitable and sought-after destinations.

All this has driven up the price of plane tickets. AAA figures indicate the lowest average airfare of $201 is 14% higher in 2022 than the same time last year.

“We try to budget where you can budget,” Donnie Glass said.

Even to catch a flight, you need gas in your tank and cash in your pocket. Pump prices are $4.53 a gallon in North Carolina, according to AAA statistics.

If you leave your car in the airport parking lot at RDU, it will cost you $17 per day.

Donnie Glass says he is able to save money for his job at a tire factory by working from home.

“The way I work, I don’t have a normal schedule. I don’t need to be at work five days a week. So I save gas that way. This is the most important thing. Wherever we can save, we save,” he said.

More than 182,000 passengers are expected to pass through the airport this bank holiday weekend.

RDU staff expect longer queues and delays and advise travelers to arrive at least two hours early for domestic flights and at least three hours early for flights international.

“We got here three hours early,” Shinese Glass said.

The married couple of over 20 years weren’t going to take any chances.

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