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Dec 01, 2004

RDU Airport Observation Park

ObparkMy new routine for picking up friends and family at the RDU airport:  I drive to the observation park (near general aviation) and hang out watching airplanes until I my passenger calls to confirm that they have their luggage in hand.  Then I pop into my car, zip around the airport drive, and pick them up curbside.  Easy. Cheap.  Moderately entertaining.

My old routine was to hang out at the Amoco station or the Waffle House south of the airport.  But lately I've been more fond of the observation park, particularly if I'm doing a tandem pick up (i.e., drop Dad off at baggage claim to help non-cell-enabled Mom or Aunt with luggage, while I wait for their call).

Neat things about the observation deck: (1) it's free short-term parking right in the middle of the frickin' airport, (2) you can listen to the air traffic controllers when they're running the speakers, and (3) you can watch planes and stuff.

To reach the observation deck: Get on the main airport "circle", and after you've passed Terminal A, turn right toward long-term parking and general aviation on the north side of the airport.  Wind around until you pass the general aviation on your right, and take the second left, immediately after the "general aviation employee parking lot."  The observation park lot is labeled, but you need to keep your wits about you or you'll whiz right by it.  Want a map?  Want to know where I yoinked this photo from?  See the official RDU website.

12:06 AM in Destination Durham | Permalink


you know, i've always wanted to do that. i've passed the "<---observation park' sign a million times on my way to the park'n'ride lots, but have never stopped.

your routine sounds quite pleasant; i plan on trying it next time i gots to pick someone up. (my airport routine always takes me to the wide shoe warehouse, just across 70 from the airport.)

Posted by: christa | Dec 1, 2004 1:38:31 PM

too bad we have to go through so much trouble....charlotte now has the "CELL LOT" just before the pick-up zone where you can sit in your car and wait for the cell call to go and pick up your party....no hassels/lots of spaces and way-cool convenient!!!!

Posted by: airport traveller | Jul 6, 2006 7:48:11 PM

Salt Lake City also has a "cell lot" where you can wait in your car and watch the big displays to see when flights come in.

Posted by: Phil | Jul 30, 2008 11:48:42 PM