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All you need to know about RDU

To help make your entire process at RDU 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.

RAL-RDU2-NOV2022

RDU offers 48 nonstop destinations.

Photo courtesy of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority

Table of Contents

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 60 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 and three hours for international travelers.
  • 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 7, 2025, you will need a REAL ID to board commercial flights in the US sans passport or other federal ID.
  • 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

In 2023, RDU was the fastest growing airport in the US with over 20% increase in seats available year over year. RDU is taking off with 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 as part of the Landside Expansion Plan.

The expansion plan includes extending the airport’s signature Terminal 2 building on both ends to accommodate more ticket counters, security checkpoints, and baggage carousels in addition to improvements to lobby areas, retail spaces, and roadways. RDU’s new runway has already begun construction and is anticipated to be completed in 2028.

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 | $3/hour, $11/day | Two lots with a free, 24-hour shuttle service to the terminals; great for long-term parking.
  • Express | $4/hour, $16/day | A mid-priced option with a free, 24-hour shuttle to the terminals.
  • Central | $5/hour, $20/day | Located in the garage between Terminals 1 or 2, within a short walking distance to both.
  • Premier | $7.50/hour, $30/day | A covered lot on the ground floor of the garage between Terminals 1 or 2, within a short walking distance to both.

Check here to see if a lot is open and how full it is. You can even book your spot in advance.

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.

Nonstop flights

Raleigh offers 60 nonstop destinations — 41 domestic that fly to five US regions, plus eight international flights to seven countries. Here are 30+ nonstop flights to 13 nearby locations. Plus, read up on flights coming soon to RDU, including new routes.

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, Spirit
  • Miami | American, Delta, Frontier (April 2024)
  • Nashville | American, Delta, Southwest
  • Newark | Delta, United
  • New York, Kennedy and LaGuardia | American, Delta, JetBlue, Frontier (April 2024)
  • Orlando | Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit
  • Philadelphia | American, Fronteir
  • Pittsburgh | American, Breeze, Frontier
  • Tampa | American, Breeze, Delta, Frontier (April 2024), Southwest
  • Washington, D.C., Dulles and Reagan | United, American, Delta

Bonus: Get lower fares by making a free account on Going. Add RDU to your notification list (you can add up to five airports on the free plan), and you’ll get emailed when flights are 40-90% cheaper than usual.

Gates

Terminal 1

  • Avelo and Spirit | Gates A1-A4 as assigned
  • Southwest | Gates A5-A8

Terminal 2

  • Aeromexico | Gate TBD
  • Alaska | Gate C7 or as assigned
  • Air Canada | Gate C12
  • AirFrance | Gate C24
  • American | Gates C11, C15-C18, C21-C23, C25
  • Bahamasair | Gate C21 or as assigned
  • Breeze | Gate C7, C9, D9, D11 or D13 as assigned
  • Copa | Gate TBD
  • Delta | Gate C1, C3, D1, D3, D5-6
  • Frontier | Gate D14
  • Icelandair | Gate C21 or C25 as assigned
  • Jet Blue | Gate C10
  • Lufthansa | Gate C21-23, C25
  • Sun Country | Gate D9, D11 or D13 as assigned
  • United | Gate D15, D17-20

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:

  • Beyu Caffé | Terminal 1 and 2 | Menu highlights: Coffee, smoothies, sandwiches, and grab-and-go snacks
  • 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.
  • Coming soon: Crawford’s Genuine | Terminal 2 | Menu highlights: High-end cuisine, seafood, and local chef-crafted bites.

Fly comfortably

While we may not be able to offer solutions for crying babies or mysterious in-flight meals, we do have some tricks up our sleeves for upping your comfort while flying. Browse some of our favorite travel essentials:

  • Lights Out Sleep Mask | This eye mask provides optimal comfort and aids restful sleep amidst changing environments and varying light conditions.
  • The AirFly Pro | Make sure you can always access in-flight entertainment (while avoiding the wired headphones airlines pass out) by using an AirFly. It plugs into your seat’s headphone jack and connects to your earbuds or headphones via Bluetooth.
  • Trtl travel pillow | The Trtl pillow is scientifically designed to provide a better head position when sleeping upright, thanks to an internal support system comfortably cushioned in cozy fleece.
  • Leather Dopp Kit | Keep your essentials organized and easily accessible, ensuring hassle-free journeys wherever you go.
  • Bose Noise Canceling Headphones | These headphones are tried-and-true traveling companions, beloved for their crisp sound and ability to block exterior noise.
  • Cozy Earth joggers | These Oprah-approved joggers are polished enough to navigate the airport in, but comfy and stretchy enough for long flights.
  • Snacks | Bringing your own snacks ensures dietary preferences are met — plus, you’ll save time and money while traveling.
  • Anti-nausea wristbands | Some simple anti-nausea wristbands might relieve a nervous stomach or sensitivity to turbulence while flying.
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