My magical experience with pre-booking RDU parking

Last week I visited family in Texas, and, like many of us, we flew out of our beloved RDU Airport. Since I had recently attended the RTA Business Briefing on RDU, I was aware of the increased demands on security lines, parking, and so on, especially during morning rush hour, and therefore I booked my parking in advance using the website and received a confirmation email with a QR code.

We chose ParkRDU Central for a lower-cost option that still enabled walking to the terminals. If we were not leaving during morning rush hour we probably would have chosen ParkRDU Express — I had a concern about the shuttle bus being caught in delays along the terminal ring road during that time. However, it turns out that that method would have worked fine, and saved us more money (and a few seconds of walking time, since you get dropped off on the terminal curb).

In terms of using the Central lots, we could have accessed the Central parking area using any of gates, but we were flying Frontier, (which is currently departing out of terminal 2) and so we used one of two left-most gates which head you to the smaller garage that is closer to terminal 2. We used the QR reservation code on my phone to enter the garage, and then parked in a convenient space.

We were ready to use the QR code to exit when we returned from Texas, but even that wasn’t necessary, because the license place readers read our minivan plate and the gate arm went up before we could even move our phone to the scanner. Awesome.

The ParkRDU site was easy, the technology worked, locating a space was painless, and the process was as simple as could be, particularly given the incredible growth of our airport.

The bottom line: We will book our airport parking in advance going forward — it saves time, uncertainty, and risk.

More bottom line: Booking your parking in advance also saves you a bit on your bottom line — with a discount off the drive-up rates. That’s not the primary reason I chose the option, but it might serve as the needed incentive for others to consider and use it.


PS — The only situation I could not recommend pre-booking parking is when you have to fly out unexpectedly – say within the next 18-26 hours. While these situations do happen, my sense is that truly unplanned, essentially immediate air travel trips for business or otherwise are fairly rare. The reason I cannot recommend prebooking for immediate trips is because it is currently impossible — you need to reserve parking at least 24 hours in advance to use the site.

Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director

RTA is the voice of the regional business community on transportation

post reference: th3.2019.31

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