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

Airport Overview

To help you plan your layover or overnight sleepover, we are here to give you the low-down on what travellers have reported back to us about their time at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

What to Expect

Raleigh-Durham International Airport 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 couple of 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.

Where to Sleep

After 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 airport guide below.

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.

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. [ more lounge info ]

Delta Sky Club – Location: Terminal 2, Airside, 2nd level, across from gate C3. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door with proof of Delta Airlines ticket • Lounge membership programs. [ more lounge info ]

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. [ more info ]

If sleeping in Raleigh-Durham Airport does not appeal to you, there are hotels near the airport:

  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Raleigh-Durham Airport/Brier Creek
    (1.5 miles from the airport) Free airport shuttle is available. » Check Rates
  • Cambria Hotel & Suites Raleigh-Durham Airport
    (1.8 miles from the airport) Free airport shuttle is available. » Check Rates
  • Hyatt Place Raleigh Durham Airport
    (1.8 miles from the airport) Free shuttle service to the airport and local businesses (within 5 mile radius). » Check Rates

To see more options there is a list of hotels near Raleigh Airport on Tripadvisor that can be sorted by price, distance, traveller rating and popularity.

Free WiFi is available at Raleigh-Durham airport for 45-minutes. Connect to the “RDU Free WiFi” network. A faster, uninterrupted, commercial-free premium service is available through Boingo for $7.95.

Pro-Tip: Once your free session is over, you can start it again for free after watching another commercial. You can repeat this as many times as you want.

If you need to check your email and don’t have a device to do so, use one of the pay-email kiosks located landside in the Ticketing Lobby, or airside in Terminal 2 (Gate C24).

Communications

Family Services

  • Baby Care Facilities – Family washrooms providing baby change facilities can be found throughout the airport.

Food & Drinks

  • Food & Drinks – Food concessions throughout the airport operate with varying schedules. Some open as early as 4:30AM and close after the last departure. The only 24 hour option is Starbucks (Terminal 2, landside, Ticketing Lobby). A vending machine can be found by the baggage carousels.

Information

  • Information Desk – Locations: Terminal 1 (Hours: 7:00AM – 12:00AM) • Terminal 2 (5:30AM – 12:00AM). 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.

Luggage

  • Baggage Carts – Need a hand with your luggage? Baggage carts are available curbside, in the baggage claim area of both terminals, and the parking garage atrium. Rate: $4 per cart, with a 25-cent refund for return.
  • Luggage Storage & Lockers – Not available.

Medical Services

  • Pharmacy – OTC Drugs and More. Location: Terminal 2, Ticketing Lobby. Hours 4:30AM – 8:00PM

Mobile Charging

  • 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.

Money

  • 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).

Prayer & Meditation

  • Chapel – Location: Terminal 1, Baggage Claim area. Hours: open 24 hours.
  • Meditation Room – Location: Terminal 2, Ticketing Lobby, landside. Hours: open 24 hours.

Rest & Relaxation

Shopping

  • Duty Free & Shopping – Duty free is available at EJE Travel Retail (Location: airside, Gate C15. Hours: 6:00AM – 8:00PM). The airport also offers a good variety of shops to pass the time such as magazines shops, clothing retailers and last minute convenience shops.

Showers, Salon & Spa

  • Showers – Not available.
  • Spa – Manicures, pedicures, facials, massages and more are available at XpresSpa. Location: Terminal 2, airside, Gate C10. 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.

Smoking

  • Smoking Areas – Prohibited anywhere inside the airport.

Things to do & see

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

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 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.

As of March 2018, Raleigh-Durham airport is served by the following airlines: Southwest Airlines • Alaska Airlines • Allegiant Airlines • American Airlines • Delta • Frontier Airlines • JetBlue Airways • United Airlines • Virgin America.

Triangle Transit Route 100 is an ordinary local bus route that runs between the 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.

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, EZ Car, Hertz, National, Payless and Thrifty. Shuttles pick up at the green Rental Car shuttle stops.

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: 2018-10-23

This guide is for informational purposes only to assist with your planning.  All information, including rates and hours, are 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 web sites. 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, write a review or send an email to [email protected] and we will update this guide.