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Morning Poll: DCA vs. IAD

An airplane taxis after landing at Reagan National Airport (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

National Airport is, arguably, a key perk of living in Arlington.

Being a <15 minute Uber ride (or a short Metro ride) away from a convenient, well-run airport with flights to a wide range of domestic destinations is something few inner suburbs can claim.

Meanwhile, it keeps getting better. Gone is the dreaded Gate 35X, replaced with a brand new concourse in 2021. Plus new restaurants and new stores keep opening.

Of course, DCA is not the only airport option around here.

Dulles International Airport is now accessible via Metro and is itself gaining new restaurant and retail options. Like National, Dulles is also getting a new concourse to replace some not-so-great regional jet boarding facilities. Last year, IAD even garnered a higher passenger satisfaction rating than DCA.

With Metro accessibility no longer a factor, one major complaint remains the distance. It’s a bit of a hike to get out to Dulles, though if you live certain northern sections of Arlington like East Falls Church, it’s more of a toss up in terms of travel time to the two airports.

There is an additional factor when choosing between the two airports, though. While you can get a nonstop flight to some West Coast destinations from DCA, they are limited by federal law. Recently, a group started a new push to ditch the “perimeter rule” and allow more long-distance flights.

From our sister site FFXnow earlier this week:

A proposal for more long-distance flights at Reagan National Airport (DCA) is catching the ire of some of Virginia’s Congressional representatives, who say it could undermine efforts to grow Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Proponents led by Capital Access Alliance argue that current restrictions at Reagan National — an airport owned by the federal government — are outdated and hurt the economy. They want to increase the number of flights that travel beyond 1,250 miles from the airport, allowing as many as 25 daily round trips.

So short of going to BWI — and who wants to do that, really — to avoid connecting flights sometimes Dulles is the choice, even for avowed DCA fans.

Given all of the above, we were wondering where Arlington residents stand in terms of their DCA loyalty. This morning’s poll asks: when booking a flight, to what degree — if any — do you prioritize trying to fly out of National instead of Dulles?

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For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at

Submit your own Announcement here.

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