The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is gearing up for another record holiday travel period at both Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.
As the holidays approach, the Airports Authority expects to see heavier traffic and passenger volumes traveling through its two National Capital Region airports from now through Dec. 30, 2019 and again on Jan. 5, 2020.
As a result of the forecast increase in traveler volume, significantly higher congestion is expected on airport roadways and inside the terminals — especially at Reagan National, where Project Journey construction has reduced roadway and sidewalk capacity at Terminal B/C by about one third.
To ensure a faster, more enjoyable and less stressful experience when coming to Reagan National or Dulles International this holiday season, keep these helpful tips in mind:
- Get there early
To accommodate potential traffic congestion on airport roadways or long lines in the terminal and avoid missing flights, plan in advance to arrive inside the terminal early – at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international departures.
- Park one hour for free
Both Reagan National and Dulles International will offer FREE parking in their parking garages for up to 60 minutes this holiday season. This option allows travelers to either surprise your loved ones by meeting them inside the terminal when they arrive or see them off without having to navigate busy vehicle traffic on the departures curb – all at no charge.
- Use Metrorail
Escape traffic congestion altogether when traveling through Reagan National by riding Metro to the airport. Pro tip: pick up or drop off a loved one at either the Crystal City or Braddock Road stations to avoid driving to the airport.
- Use the Dulles Cell Phone Lot
If you’re picking up loved ones at Dulles International but would rather not park, the Cell Phone Lot is available and free to use for quick pick-ups. Once loved ones have retrieved their belongings and are waiting outside, cruise through for an easy getaway without having to circle airport roadways while you wait.
- Watch for alternate drop-off areas
Look for signage and follow police direction at both Reagan National and Dulles International airports for faster, alternative drop-off locations.
- Don’t cut through
While it may be tempting to cut through Reagan National for non-airport business, drivers will further contribute to roadway delays rather than save travel time for themselves and others.
- One terminal, any door
At Dulles International, all curbside departure and arrival doors provide the same access to the terminal. Rather than stopping at a specific airline zone, use any open pick-up or drop-off space to avoid blocking travel lanes. Airports Authority police will be directing traffic to the fastest-moving curb.
- There’s an app for that
Mobile apps are great resources for managing travel and staying informed. Download free navigation, airline and travel apps in advance to help you plan your trip and familiarize yourself with the airport. Opt-in push notifications can also alert you to possible traffic congestion, flight delays, gate changes and zone-specific boarding times. The DC Airports app also provides parking information and terminal maps, as well as shopping and dining options near you and on the way to the gate.
- Construction at Reagan National
Project Journey at Reagan National is a multi-year effort to transform the passenger experience through the construction of two new security checkpoints and a new 14-gate concourse, replacing bus operations from Gate 35X. Details of the impact of construction on airport roads is broadcast locally on 1640 AM, and more information about the project is available at FlyReagan.com/ProjectJourney.
The Airports Authority wishes all those traveling through Reagan National and Dulles International a safe journey and happy holidays. For more travel tips and information, construction updates and a complete schedule of holiday events and performances, visit FlyReagan.com and FlyDulles.com.