Traveling via plane is fun — jet-setting over beautiful blue waters or rolling hills, taking in cloud formations, and landing in a completely different location in a matter of hours is unlike anything else.
The whole navigating the airport part? Less exciting, and sometimes pretty stressful. To help make your time at Raleigh-Durham International Airport as smooth as possible, we’ve created a guide that covers everything from gates and parking to details on the airport’s 48 nonstop routes.
What to know
- TSA | According to RDU’s website, it takes ~30 minutes to get through security during off-peak hours, but could take longer during peak hours (early morning, midday, and evening). RDU recommends arriving at least two hours before domestic flights.
- Map it out | If you’re like us and need to completely visualize a place before you step foot inside, these maps of the entire airport will be your saving grace.
- Food and drink | Skip the line and pick up food or a coffee from getREEF — RDU’s virtual food hall. Place an order from your phone and it will be ready in 20 minutes or less in Terminal 2.
- Reminder | Starting May 3, 2023, you will need a REAL ID to board commercial flights in the US.
- Flight status | While we recommend staying updated via your respective airline, you can also check the airport’s dashboard for your flight status in a pinch.
Current airport updates
RDU has resumed implementation of its Vision 2040 Master Plan — a long-term and flexible outline of the airport’s plans to grow. The 25-year vision (which was delayed by COVID-19) includes projects like replacing RDU’s primary runway and adding new gates and amenities to Terminal 2. RDU expects to begin construction on its new, longer runway in 2023 with plans to open it in 2027.
Parking, shuttles, and rideshare
Not everyone has a bestie who will drop everything to pick them up from their 3 a.m. landing. All of RDU’s parking lots and garages offer hourly and per-day parking:
- Economy | $1/hour, $11/day | Two lots with a free, 24-hour shuttle service to the terminals; great for long-term parking.
- Express | $2/hour, $14/day | A mid-priced option with a free, 24-hour shuttle to the terminals.
- Central | $3/hour, $17/day | Located in the garage between Terminals 1 or 2, within a short walking distance to both.
- Premier | $5/hour, $26/day | A covered lot on the ground floor of the garage between Terminals 1 or 2, within a short walking distance to both.
Hate the thought of driving yourself? Try out a shuttle, rideshare, or taxi service that will take you to and from the terminal. These services are suggested by RDU:
- Taxi Taxi | Taxi | Call 919-333-3333 or book your cab online.
- GoTriangle | Bus | Pick up service between Zone 2/3 (Terminal 1) or Zone 6/7 (Terminal 2).
- Hotel shuttles | Shuttle | Visit the Accommodations and Reservations area in baggage claim to contact your hotel to let them know you’ve arrived.
Rideshare pick-up locations are at Zone 1 (Terminal 1) and Zone 8 (Terminal 2). Drop-off spots are located curbside at Terminal 1 and at the upper (departures) level of Terminal 2. If you’re picking someone up, you can wait in the Cell Lot.
Raleigh offers 48 nonstop destinations — 41 domestic that fly to five US regions, plus seven international flights to six countries. Here are 30+ nonstop flights to 13 nearby locations.
Pro tip: Remember that flight times and schedules will often change — you should rely on your respective airline for exact timing and to stay updated on any changes.
- Atlanta | Delta, Frontier, Southwest
- Baltimore | Southwest
- Charlotte | American
- Fort Lauderdale | Delta, JetBlue, Southwest
- Miami | American, Delta
- Nashville | American, Delta, Southwest
- Newark | Delta, United
- New York | American, Delta, JetBlue
- Orlando | Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit
- Philadelphia | American, Fronteir
- Pittsburgh | American
- Tampa | American, Delta, Southwest
- Washington | United, American, Delta
- Gates A5-A8 | Southwest
- Gates A1-A4 | Spirit
- Gate C7 | Alaska
- Gate C7 | Allegiant
- Gate C12 | Air Canada
- Gates C11, C15-C18, C21-C23, C25 | American
- Gate TBD | Avelo
- Gate TBD | Bahamasair
- Gate C1, C3, D1, D3, D5-6, D14 | Delta
- Gate D17 | Frontier
- Gate TBD | Icelandair
- Gate C10 | Jet Blue
- Gate TBD |Sun Country
- Gate D15, D17-20 | United
Food and drink
RDU is a hub of eateries with 15+ restaurants, bars, and coffee shops for fliers to dine before or between flights, like:
- Char-Grill | Terminal 1, Gate A5 | Menu highlights: Burgers, shakes, fries, and breakfast sandwiches.
- La Farm Bakery Café | Terminal 2 | Menu highlights: Coffee, pastries, soups, salads, and sandwiches.
- Raleigh Taproom| Terminal 2, Gate D3 | Menu highlights: Craft beer and charcuterie boards.
- 42nd St. Oyster Bar | Terminal 2, Gate C1 | Menu highlights: Fresh seafood and Southern favorites.
Check out more of our airport eatery recs.