Midnight Airport Traffic Hell

In all my twenty-five years of living here I must have gone to the RDU airport to either fly out myself or pick someone up at least five hundred times. That makes me fairly familiar with everything about that airport. Yes, over the years it has changed. Terminals have come and gone, some slower than they should have, parking has grown and we lost a hub, but gained competition from better airlines.

One thing that has always been a positive about our little airport was the ease to get in and out of the place. Apparently I had never been to pick someone up on the the Tuesday before Thanksgiving before. Carter’s eleven PM arrival was more than an hour late last night, something we were well aware of. This meant that Russ and I had to stay up well past our bedtime, but neither of us wanted to forgo meeting Carter. She also wanted Shay Shay to come pick her up too.

We left home just before midnight for the quick trip. There were hardly any people on the road and we got there in record time. We breezed onto the airport property with little traffic until just about where you make the left hand turn into the parking deck, suddenly the night sky was lit up with a sea of red tail lights, not going anywhere. Terminal 1 had its fair share of drivers trying to pick up the, but the through lanes to get to terminal 2 were a dead stop. It was a scene out of La Guardia during a full airport renovation.

Russ and I thought there must be an accident. No, just thousands of parents trying to pick up their college students and families awaiting grandma. I could not believe that at 12:30 at night, when no one is being dropped off for departure, the airport could be gripped in such gridlock.

Carter texted us that there was a plane in her gate, so even though she had landed she wasn’t coming out soon. We told her not to meet us outside arrivals, but to come out upstairs at departures. It was a good plan because it was the arrival traffic lanes that were not going anywhere. We were stuck in the traffic for a good twenty minutes, but once we pulled off to the departures level we pulled right up to Carter standing outside. “What took you so long?”

I don’t know how we are going to be able to avoid this scenario in future years, but wow, I have rarely seen such a jam at midnight anywhere. At least she is home safe and sound with us. She got a hair cut and we went and got our nails done and now she and her father are off to see Hamilton. I have cooked the rest of the day and am ready to go to bed early. Of course that midnight airport run was worth it, but only to get Carter home for a few days. No one else qualifies for enduring that hell again.

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