Sleeping in Airports

Raleigh-Durham Airport Guide

Whether you have a layover, overnight sleepover or you are just quickly passing through, our Raleigh-Durham Airport Guide is a great place to start planning your visit.  Here, you’ll find information on services and facilities available inside the airport – including details about airport lounges, WiFi, mobile charging points, lockers, 24-hour food options, nearby hotels, and everything in between.

If it weren’t for having memorized CNN Airport after watching it continually for 9 hours and the fact that I think they are trying to generate the first indoor snow storm with the air conditioning of doom it would still be bad. – Chris

RDU Airport Overview

To help you plan your layover or overnight sleepover, here is a quick run-down about what to expect during your time at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

What to Expect

Raleigh-Durham Airport (code: RDU) operates two separate terminals (1 and 2), with connections between the two provided by shuttle bus. The newer and larger Terminal 2 offers about three dozen eateries and shops. Terminal 1 only has a few restaurants, cafes and small shops. The majority of services in both terminals are located airside. A Starbucks in Terminal 2 remains open overnight, leaving only vending machines for any overnight snacking. WiFi is available and the terminals have plenty of charging stations/outlets. Additional comfort can be found through fee-based access to one of the airport’s first class lounges. See our Airport Lounges section for locations and rates.

Sleeping in Raleigh-Durham Airport

raleigh airport guideAfter security checkpoints close for the night, all passengers are restricted to the landside areas, and must re-clear security the next day when the checkpoints open. Most comfortable, armrest-free seating is located on the airside, though there are some armrest-free benches scattered around the landside of Terminal 2. Some travellers report that they slept in comfortable recliners on the airside of Terminal 2 just past security until they were kicked out at 3:00AM, and then attempted to find armrest-free seating on the landside, with mixed results. For uninterrupted sleep, there are hotels within a quick shuttle ride of the airport. See Airport Hotels in the guide below or read some traveller reviews for more tips.

To help us keep this guide up-to-date, you can add or update information or write a review to submit airport tips and photos. You can also visit the airport’s web site for current information.  For more airport information continue scrolling down to explore more in our Raleigh Airport Guide.

In this guide we may refer to locations as “landside” and “airside”. Landside is the public area of the terminal located in the non-secure zone, before security. Airside is the secure area of the terminal that you must reach by going through security.  For more information on Europe’s Schengen Area, click here.

Airport Hours

The airport is open 24 hours. The TSA security checkpoints open at 4:00AM and closes after the last departing flight.

Keep in mind that airline check-in and baggage drop hours vary according to the flight schedule. Check these hours with your airline. If you are in the public area of the terminal (landside) you will not be able to get through to the secure area of the terminal (airside) until the morning.

Airport Hotels

If sleeping in the airport sounds like a nightmare, there are hotels near Raleigh-Durham Airport that provide free airport shuttles:

For more options, visit Tripadvisor to see a list of hotels near Raleigh Airport that can be sorted by price, distance, traveller rating and popularity.

Airport Lounges

Pay-per-use, Single Visit Passes & Lounge Memberships

Regardless of what class of service you are flying, there are lounges that you can enter by paying at the door or through a lounge membership program. Visit the individual lounge page for more details about the lounge itself and to also find out how you can gain lounge access with just an economy class ticket!

American Airlines Admirals Club – Location: Terminal 2, Airside, across from Gates C1 and C3. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door with proof of American Airlines ticket • Lounge membership programs.

United Club – Location: Terminal 2, Airside, across from Gates C1 and C3.  Lounge Access: Pay at the Door with proof of United Airlines ticket • Lounge membership programs.

Airline Lounges (members only)

Delta Sky Club – Location: Terminal 2, Airside, 2nd level, across from gate C3. Lounge Access: Elite Status • Lounge membership programs.

Military Lounge

USO Lounge – The USO offers a lounge that is free of charge to active members of the US military and their families. Location: Terminal 2, 3rd floor, entrance on the Ticketing Level near Starbucks.

Related Pages: Raleigh Airport Lounges

Drinking Water

Thirsty? Water bottle refill stations are available free of charge. Location: Landside and Airside.

Food & Drinks

Food concessions throughout the airport operate with varying schedules. Some open as early as 4:30AM and close after the last departure. A vending machine can be found by the baggage carousels.

Luggage Storage & Lockers

Unavailable. If this is incorrect, click here to update this guide.

Mobile Charging

In Terminal 1, power outlets can be found next to seats at the gates and in baggage claim. In Terminal 2, look for the seating clusters with tables that have built-in power 110v outlets and USB ports.

Rest & Relaxation Zones

There are no dedicated sleeping areas, quiet areas or rest zones. If this information has changed, click here to update this guide.


Unavailable. If this is incorrect, click here to update this guide.

WiFi / Internet

Free WiFi is available at Raleigh-Durham airport. Connect to the “RDU Free WiFi” network. You will remain connected for 48 hours.

More Airport Information

More Services, Facilities & Things To Do On A Layover

Art at the Airport – Several permanent and temporary exhibitions can be found throughout the airport.

Baby Care Facilities – Family washrooms providing baby change facilities can be found throughout the airport. Nursing pods are available in both Terminals. Location T1, Gate A6 • T2, Gate C8. Hours: 24 hours.

Luggage Storage & Lockers – Unavailable. If this is incorrect, click here to update this guide.

Chapel – Location: Terminal 1, Baggage Claim area. Hours: open 24 hours.

Courtesy Phones – Available near terminal directories and connected directly to Airport Guest Experience staff.

Duty Free & Shopping – Duty free is temporarily closed. However, there are a variety of shops where you can buy magazines, clothing and last minute convenience shops. A 24-hour flower kiosk is available in T1 and T12.

Information Desk – Locations: Terminal 1 and 2 (Hours: 7:00AM – 10:30AM). The information desks are manned by North Carolina travel agents to provide you with local assistance. The airport also offers ambassadors who you will find throughout the airport to assist you.

Meditation Room – Closed


  • ATMs / Cash Machines – Need cash? ATMs are available. Fees may apply, so be sure to check your bank’s fee schedule and your daily withdrawal limit if you are travelling internationally. You may also want to notify your bank of your travel plans. Locations: Terminal 1 (Landside, main entrance near tunnel to parking garage • Airside) • Terminal 2 (Landside, Baggage Claim Area • Landside, Ticketing Area x 2 locations • Airside x 4 locations).
  • Currency Exchange – Travelex has two offices: Terminal 2, ticketing lobby (Hours: 7:00AM – 8:00PM) • Terminal 2, baggage claim (Hours: open during international arrivals only).

Observation Area – For locals or visitors willing to take a taxi, you may like to visit the RDU Observation Deck, where you can watch the action on the airport’s longest runway. From the airport’s web site: “The park is located near the Air Traffic Control Tower and Park and Ride 2. Direct communication from the control tower to pilots can be heard from the elevated lookout area. A playground and picnic tables are nearby”. Hours: 9:00AM – sunset (daily).

Postal Services – Drop off your last minute postcards at the airport’s mailbox. Location: Terminal 2, Baggage Claim area.

SIM Cards – A reader has asked us to include where to buy SIM Cards. If you know, click here to update this airport guide.

Smoking Areas – Prohibited anywhere inside the airport.

SpaTemporarily Closed – Manicures, pedicures, facials, massages and more are available at XpresSpa. Location: Terminal 2, airside, Gate C3. Hours: 7:00AM – 8:00PM (Sun-Fri), 9:30AM – 6:00PM (Sat). Manicures and other spa services are also available at Na’Sah’s Nail & Spa. Location: Terminal 1, airside, Gate A7. Hours: Unknown.

Raleigh-Durham airport is served by the following airlines: Air Canada • Alaska Airlines • Allegiant Airlines • American Airlines • Avelo Airlines • Bahamas Air • Delta Air Lines • Frontier Airlines • Icelandair • JetBlue Airways • Spirit • Sun Country • Southwest • Spirit • United Airlines.
Airport Transportation: Getting To/From The Airport


Triangle Transit Route 100 is an ordinary local bus route that runs between RDU airport and the Triangle Transit Regional Transit Center, offering connections to other Triangle Transit buses that serve Raleigh, Durham and Cary. For route maps, schedules and fare information, visit the GO Triangle website.

Car Rentals

The following car rental agencies serve the airport, offering free shuttle service from the airport to their service locations: Advantage • Alamo • Avis • Budget • Dollar • Enterprise • Hertz • National • Payless • Thrifty. Shuttles pick up at the green Rental Car shuttle stops.

Hotel Shuttles

Several area hotels provide airport shuttle service: Aloft Raleigh-Durham Airport Brier Creek   •   Cambria Hotel Raleigh-Durham Airport   •   Country Inn & Suites Raleigh-Durham Airport   •   Courtyard Raleigh-Durham Airport   •   Embassy Suites by Hilton Raleigh – Durham Airport/Brier Creek   •   Hampton Inn Raleigh Durham Airport   •   Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh-Durham Airport-Brier Creek   •   Hilton Garden Inn Raleigh-Durham Airport   •   Holiday Inn Express Raleigh-Durham Airport   •   La Quinta Inn & Suites Raleigh Durham Intl AP   •   Residence Inn Raleigh-Durham Airport.

See also Airport Hotels above.

Inter-Terminal Transportation

Free shuttle service is available to transfer between Terminal 1 to Terminal 2.  Alternatively, you may opt to take a walk instead for 5 to 10 minutes.


Several companies offer shared-ride shuttle service to and from Raleigh-Durham Airport. These shuttles can be found in the brown limo zones outside of the baggage claim areas of either terminal.


Taxis are available outside near Baggage Claim 3 (Terminal 1) and on the lower level, outside of Baggage Claim 1 (Terminal 2). All taxis are metered, and reservations are not required, but you can pre-book your taxi by contacting RDU Taxis, Inc. For suggested trip fares, visit the Raleigh-Durham Airport website.

Last updated: 2024-01-31

This guide is for informational purposes only to assist with your planning.  All information, including rates and hours, is subject to change at any time without notice.   The information in this airport guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airports, lounges, hotels, transportation providers, and their websites. We are not representatives of any of the above-mentioned service providers. To report errors or to add/update any items mentioned in the guide: update the airport guide or  write a review.