IAD (UA)

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Contents

General

Washington/Dulles airport is the international airport for metropolitan Washington DC, although it is located mostly in Loudoun County, VA and partly in Fairfax County, VA. The airport is about 45 minutes west of Washington, DC.

Washington/Dulles Airport is operated by the governmental Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA). MWAA was created by an inter-governmental compact between the US Federal Government, the Federal District of Columbia, the State of Maryland, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Each of these 4 governments appoint people to the MWAA Board. MWAA also operates the Washington/National airport, which is located in Arlington County, VA.

Dulles Airport was originally designed to handle aircraft much larger than existed back in 1962. All of its runways and all of its jetways are able to handle very large aircraft (e.g. Airbus A380) -- and did not need any modifications to support such aircraft. At present, there are 2 gates in the B concourse with dual-height jetway capability, to facilitate loading and unloading of passengers from A380 aircraft. Air France began A380 service at IAD in June 2011. Because IAD is not slot-constrained, unlike for example London/Heathrow (LHR), Dulles is not the most obvious airport for an airline to target for A380 use.

Note that while MWAA operates both of these airports, both airports are actually owned by the US Department of Transportation. Similarly, while MWAA operates both the (no cost, but airport traffic only) Dulles Airport Access Highway and also the (public) Dulles Toll Road (VA Route 267), these roads are both owned by the US Department of Transportation.

Airport Security

Entrances to Screening

The primary entrance to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) government screening is on Departures level of the Main Terminal. However, the screening itself is performed by TSA on a lower Mezzanine level of the Main Terminal. Passengers can use either the East or West entrances to TSA screening, regardless of which airline one is flying that day.

There have been many reports on FlyerTalk that the TSA checkpoints are understaffed in the late afternoon or evening. On 28th January 2010, delays of about 45 minutes were encountered waiting to clear the TSA checkpoints in the late afternoon -- to give just one example. Smart travelers will allow extra time to clear TSA when flying out of Dulles International Airport.

There are also 2 entrances to the TSA checkpoints from the arrival level which do not require the use of the down escalators.

Priority Lines

Passengers traveling in First Class or Business Class, along with airline-designated very-frequent fliers, can access priority lines for the TSA screening process.

Having priority might not help one very much during the early morning and late afternoon busy periods. There are 2 sets of escalators from the Departure Level of the Main Terminal down to 2 separate TSA screening area on the Mezzanine Level of the Main Terminal. Since this is a UA hub, during the afternoon, the lines are usually shorter on the West side (farthest from the UA checkpoint).

The best ways to optimize entry to the TSA checkpoints during the busiest times are:

  • 1) Use TSA Pre-Check lanes (if they are open & one has been pre-approved for TSA Pre-Check).
  • 2) Use the WEST checkpoint, farthest away from United Airlines' check-in area.

The Transportation Security Administration's (TSA's) Pre-Check expedited pre-flight screening system has begun operation. This is located near the center rear of the departures level of the main terminal. This queue generally moves quickly as it largely consists of experienced travellers and because one generally need not remove shoes or remove laptops from briefcases.

Inter-Terminal Transportation is discussed later in this article.

Airline Alliances

All 3 major airline alliances are present at Washington/Dulles, but the airport is dominated by Star Alliance partner United Airlines.

Star Alliance

Washington/Dulles is a hub city for Star Alliance founding carrier United Airlines. A number of other Star Alliance carriers also fly to/from this airport.

Check-in

  • US Airways check-in is located midway along the Main Terminal.
  • UA check-in is located in on the east end of the Main Terminal. As the airport loop runs west to east, this means UA is in the last departure zone of the IAD Main Terminal building. Most other Star Alliance carriers have check-in desks nearby.
  • United Easy Check-in machines are available in the Main Terminal departure level. There are also Easy Check-In machines for passengers *without bags to check* on the lower level of the Main Terminal, near the arrivals exit to ground transportation. Beyond security, there are also Easy Check-In machines near gate A4 and near gate C20.

Flights: Domestic

Both United and US Airways have operations at Washington/Dulles Airport.

United Airlines

UA mainline flights at Washington/Dulles (IAD) leave out of Concourse C or Concourse D. All UA-operated international arrivals use Concourse C, because the lower-numbered C gates have facilities to separate arriving international passengers from the rest of the terminal. Many international departures are also from Concourse C, but some are from Concourse D.

MWAA has expressed interest in building entirely new replacement buildings for Concourses C and D since early 2000 (over 12 years now). These would be located directly south, directly above the underground AeroTrain station for Concourse C and the newest airport control tower. However, UA has fought MWAA on this issue saying that it can't afford to move to modern buildings. The existing Concourse C and D buildings were built in 1983 as temporary structures (and are obviously overdue for replacement).

Most United Express flights operate out of Concourse A, with some (typically larger CR7 or E70) express aircraft operating out of Concourse C or D. The United Express ground staff working in Concourse A are employed by a United Express carrier -- and are not UA employees. Often they are not as well trained as a UA gate agent would be at handling upgrades, standbys, or rebookings. There is no UA Red Carpet Club in Concourse A, but there is a "Customer Service" counter, several restaurants, and a news stand. It is both complex and time-consuming to connect between the United Express gates in Terminal A and the United (mainline) gates in Terminal C/D.

US Airways

US Airways operates out of gates Z6 through Z10, which are attached to the rear (southern) side of the Main Terminal. There are no US Airways international flights with IAD as their gateway city.

Flights: International

Several Star Alliance carriers have international flights to/from Washington/Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Air Canada

Air Canada (AC) operate out of the United Airlines gates in Concourses C and D. AC offers flights to Halifax, Montreal (YUL), Ottawa (YOW), and Toronto (YYZ). Most flights use Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ, CR7) aircraft. Customs & Immigration for these flights occurs at the Canadian airport, not at IAD.

All Nippon Airlines

All Nippon Airlines (NH) operates out of Concourse B, near Gates 49 and 51. Its passengers use the adjacent Lufthansa lounges. ANA has a daily early morning arrival from Tokyo, followed by a mid-day departure returning to Tokyo.

Austrian Airlines

Star Alliance partner Austrian Airlines operates out of Concourse B, near Gate 51. Its passengers share the Lufthansa lounges nearby. It has a mid-afternoon arrival from Vienna, followed by a late afternoon/early evening departure returning to Vienna.

Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines operates out of Concourse B, usually near Gate 51. Its passengers share the Lufthansa lounges nearby. It has a mid-afternoon arrival from Brussels, followed by a late afternoon/early evening departure returning to Brussels.

Copa Airlines

Copa Airlines operates daily flights to Panama out of Concourse A, usually near Gate A-19.

Lufthansa

Lufthansa (LH) operates out of Concourse B, near Gates 49 & 51. It has multiple flights daily to Frankfurt and Munich.

Scandanavian Air System

Scandanavian Airline System (SAS) operates out of Concourse B. Its passengers normally use the Lufthansa lounges.

South African Airways

South African Airways operates out of Concourse A, at Gate A14. Its passengers normally use the Lufthansa lounges.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines operates flights to/from Istanbul 6 days each week.

United Airlines

UA mainline services, domestic and international. operate from Concourses C and D.

For Europe, United has many daily non-stop flights to western Europe, including Amsterdam (AMS), Brussels (BRU), Frankfurt (FRA), London (LHR), Munich (MUC), Paris (CDG), Rome (FCO), and Zurich (ZRH).

For the Middle East, UA also has daily non-stop flights to Kuwait (KWI), Qatar, and Dubai (DXB) from IAD.

For Asia, UA has daily non-stop from IAD to Beijing (PEK) and a daily non-stop to its Asia-Pacific hub in Tokyo (NRT), with continuing service (after refuelling in Tokyo) to Singapore (SIN).

Within the Americas, there are also daily non-stop flights to the Caribbean, Latin America, and Canada.

International Connections

Arriving UA passengers from overseas who are connecting at IAD normally undergo US Immigration and US Customs inspections at a special facility in the basement of Concourse C. Exceptionally, passengers flying to/from Canada undergo US Immigration and US Customs at the airport in Canada, and do not undergo those procedures at IAD.

One first must clear US Immigration. Then, after picking up their bags from the baggage belt, and passing US Customs in the basement, those bags can be rechecked with UA. Right after this, one undergoes TSA security screening and finally takes an escalator up to the departure level of Concourse C. The escalator exit is near gate C7 and the adjacent Red Carpet Club.

Despite an expansion in the basement-level Customs/Immigration/TSA area of Terminal C during 2008, there still might be delays getting through that transfer process during the afternoon arrivals rush.

In mid-May 2011, MWAA's web site indicated that MWAA soon will issue a new construction RFP to enable parallel, in-line TSA screening of arriving transit passengers in the ground-level facility of Concourse C. MWAA hopes that this will help alleviate some of the congestion after Customs and before/during TSA screening for those transit passengers.

International Arrivals

Arriving passengers who are ending their journey at IAD will board a "mobile lounge" (shuttle bus) from Concourse C to the International Arrivals Building (IAB) attached to the west end of the Main Terminal, and undergo US Immigration and US Customs checks there instead.

Airport Lounges

Lufthansa Business Lounge & Senator Club

Lufthansa (LH) has both a LH Business Lounge and a LH Senator Lounge near gate B-49/B-51.

This Star Alliance Gold lounge now opens at 9am and remains open until the ANA (NH) flight departs around 12 Noon. It then closes for several hours, opening about 2 hours before the first LH departure of the day and remains open until the final Lufthansa flight departs that evening.

During the mornings, until the departure of the mid-day ANA flight to Tokyo, additional Japanese-style snacks are available (e.g. Ramen, Miso soup) and additional Japanese-style beverages (e.g. Japanese Green Tea) are available. At other times, a more European set of food and snacks are offered.

There is a beer tap facing the customer at the buffet counter, but (due to Virginia's strict ABC laws) this is NOT self-service. Instead, one must find a lounge attendant and ask for a beer. As of Spring 2013, the Anheuser-Busch Shock Top wheat beer was available on draft as well as Beck's on draft. Distilled spirits are also available from the lounge attendant (available choices are displayed on a glass shelf above the beer taps).

UA Red Carpet Club

There are 3 Red Carpet Clubs at IAD Two are located in the C concourse (near C8 and near C17) and one is located in the D concourse near D7. The Club near C17 is larger than the other two, and also seems to be more busy.

Each of these Red Carpet Club locations has very nice espresso/cappuccino machines installed and in service.

There used to be a hidden "Star Alliance Gold lounge" in the A concourse, but that was replaced by an Italian-style restaurant in the mid-2000s (when Atlantic Coast Airlines ceased to be a United Express carrier, before ACA went bankrupt and UA regained control of Concourse A).

UA International FIrst Lounge

There is a separate International First Lounge in the C concourse near C6. This is reportedly somewhat small, but very quiet, and rarely full. Reports vary on its comfort and condition. Some passengers prefer to use the Red Carpet Clubs instead, depending on the gate their flight departs from (e.g. many UA international flights depart from D gates), food/beverage preferences, or other factors.

One World

One World airlines American Airlines and British Airways operate from the west end of Concourse B.

Flights: Domestic

American Airlines operates a number of flights at Washington/Dulles, primarily to its US domestic hub cities.

Flights: International

British Airways operates multiple flights between London/Heathrow and Washington/Dulles daily. These typically arrive at Dulles in the early afternoon, and depart for Heathrow late afternoon or evening.

Airport Lounges

There are 2 One World lounges at Dulles:

  • American Airlines (AA) has a lounge in Concourse B, on a Mezzanine Level above Gate B-63.
  • British Airways (BA) has a lounge in Concourse B, on a Mezzanine Level above Gate B-50. BA is quite strict about lounge access, and does not permit any guests.

Sky Team

SkyTeam airlines AIr France, Delta, KLM, and Korean Air all operate from Concourse A/B. Air France operates a SkyTeam lounge.

Flights: Domestic

Delta operates a number of daily flights, primarily to its hub airports (Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis, & Salt Lake City).

Flights: International

While Dulles is not a SkyTeam hub airport, there are significant connecting flights at Dulles:

  • AeroFlot offers daily flights to/from Moscow.
  • AeroMexico offers daily flights to/from Mexico City.
  • Air France offers daily flights between Washington/Dulles and Paris/Charles De Gaulle (CDG) airports. Gates A-20 and A-22 can handle the Airbus A380 using dual-height jetways, in addition to being able to handle ordinary commercial aircraft. Air France offers daily A380 service between IAD and Paris (CDG).
  • KLM offers daily flights between Washington/Dulles and Amsterdam/Schipol airports.
  • Korean Air offers a daily flight each way between Washington/Dulles and Seoul, South Korea.

Lounges

  • Air France has a lounge near Gate A-19 that is open most of the day. This appears to be in the location previously home to the Delta club. This is also a SkyTeam Lounge.

Other Airlines

  • Aer Lingus operates from Terminals C/D, using UA gates. Some Aer Lingus flights have a UA code-share.
  • Aerosur
  • Cayman Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Ethiopian Airlines (ET)
  • Etihad
  • IcelandAir
  • Jet Blue operates from Terminal B.
  • Porter Airlines operates from the gate A-25 with flights to Toronto City Airport (YTZ). US Customs & Immigration are handled at Dulles Airport, not Toronto City Airport, which a bit unusual for Canadian trans-border flights.
  • Qatar Airlines
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines operates from the Main Terminal, T Gates.
  • Southwest Airlines operates from Terminal B.
  • Virgin America (VX) operates from Terminal B.
  • Virgin Atlantic operates from Terminal A, higher numbered gates.

Note: AirTran was acquired by SouthWest Airlines.

Other Lounges

Virgin Atlantic has a Club House lounge across from Gate A-32.

Other Amenities

Wireless Internet

  • MWAA offers **free** wireless Internet access (802.11/WiFi) at Washington/Dulles and also at Washington/National airports.
  • Selected paid wireless Internet providers are also present, for those who prefer them.

Smoking

IAD is non-smoking in all public areas.

There are two smoking lounges airside in the C/D concourse. One is at the far end of concourse C, just after the IFL, across from Vino Volo. The second is at the far end of concourse D, past the Moe's Grill & Bar. Both rooms are enclosed with glass walls. Chairs are available. Both rooms are often crowded, and the ventilation is poor.

Restaurants, Coffee, and Such

A variety of restaurants, coffee bars, and bars/pubs are scattered around each of the concourses at Washington/Dulles. MWAA periodically change the mixture of restaurants and coffee bars, so it is difficult to maintain a fully accurate list of which firm is located near which gate.

Adult Beverages

  • The Firkin & Fox, a British style pub with a fox hunting theme, is near gate C-22.
  • Gordon Biersch has a restaurant located near gate D-12.
  • Harry's Tap Room is near Gate B-41.
  • Old Dominion Brew Pub is located near Gate A-19.
  • Tequileria is also near Gate B-41.
  • Vino Volo wine bar is near gate C-3.

Coffee

  • Capitol Grounds Coffee is near gate B-74.
  • Cinnabon is located in the Main Terminal, Departure Level, outside security, near the EAST security checkpoint.
  • Dunkin Donuts is located near gates A-22 and D-5. The D-5 location is open nearly 24 hours/day.
  • Green Leaf's is located near Gate B-73.
  • Mayorga Coffee is near Gate A-3.
  • Starbucks Coffee is located near gates B-47, C-7, C-27, and D-16

MWAA's Shop & Dine Guide is online in PDF.

Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Annex

A shuttle bus runs between the Main Terminal and the Smithsonian Museum's "Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum Annex" during the day when the museum is open. There is no charge to enter the museum, but there is a small fee for the shuttle bus. This might be interesting for someone with a very long layover at Washington/Dulles airport.

Airport Hotels

There is a Marriott hotel located on the Washington/Dulles Airport property, but it has not been updated recently, so might not be one's first choice for an airport layover.

Most major hotel chains have one or several hotels very near to the airport. Free hotel shuttle vans are commonly offered between IAD and most major hotels in the nearby communities of Reston, Herndon, Oak Hill, Chantilly, and Sterling. It is always wise to confirm that one's selected hotel has a free airport shuttle prior to booking and also to enquire about what its operating hours and operating frequency might be.

USO Lounge

The United Services Organisation (USO) has a no-cost lounge on the arrivals level, near baggage claim, in the Main Terminal. This is open to any member of the US Uniformed Services (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy, NOAA Corps, Marines, USPHS). As this is outside security, it is mostly useful for uniformed services personnel arriving at IAD.

Transport within IAD

The Z Gates are directly connected to SOUTH side of the Main Terminal at ground level. So these are walkable from the Main Terminal.

Underground Walkway

The Main Terminal is connected to Concourse B via an underground walkway. The walk takes 5-10 minutes. Concourse B and Concourse A are connected, so one could walk from the Main Terminal to Concourse A via Concourse B.

AeroTrain (Subway/Underground)

In 2010, MWAA opened the new AeroTrain, a free underground/subway that connects the Main Terminal with Concourses A, B, and C. Some find this new inter-terminal system much more painful than the prior "mobile lounge" system, in part because of the many escalators and walkways needed to move between any pair of terminals (including to/from the main terminal).

The long term plan, after Concourses C & D are replaced (at some unknown year in the future), the AeroTrain system will provide a full loop and connect all 4 mid-field terminal buildings with each other and with the Main Terminal. The replacement C/D buildings will be located directly above the current AeroTrain stop for Concourse C. This is slightly south of the current C/D buildings in order to reduce conflicts/issues between ground operations in A/B concourse and ground operations in C/D concourses. It should also help support emerging aircraft such as the Airbus 380.

NOTE: The AeroTrain is different from the MetroRail extension to Dulles Airport.

Mobile Lounges

Concourse D is connected to the Main Terminal by shuttle buses (sometimes colloquially called "Moon Buggies" because they are unusually high off the ground). The shuttle between the Main Terminal and Concourse D takes about 5 minutes and runs all day. For most of the day, the shuttles leave every 10 minutes. Late at night or early in the morning there might be longer periods between shuttles.

Separately, Concourse D is connected to Concourse A by the same kind of shuttle buses. These take about 5 minutes each way and run every 10 minutes for most of the day. This service is offered from 6:30am to 8:30am (morning rush), 10:45am to 1245pm, 1:30pm to 5:15 pm, and 7:15pm to 10:30pm. When the direct shuttle is not operating, one must walk between Concourse D and Concourse C, using the 'AeroTrain' inter-terminal subway system to reach Concourse A, Concourse B, or the Main Terminal.

When Concourse C & D are replaced (at some unknown year in the future), the replacement Concourse D will be connected to the 'AeroTrain' inter-terminal subway system.

The current location of the "C" AeroTrain station is directly below the future location of Concourse C. So the current long walk from the "C" AeroTrain station to the current Concourse C will go away whenever the replacement buildings are actually built. The long daisy-chain of escalators between the AeroTrain and the Concourse above, however, is likely to remain permanently.

International Arrivals terminating at IAD

Passengers arriving from an international origin are required to undergo US Customs and Immigration at their first airport arrival in the US. For passengers terminating in Washington DC, or using certain airlines that do not use the mid-field Customs and Immigration facilities, a shuttle bus is used to carry the passengers to the renovated and expanded International Arrivals Building attached to the Main Terminal. This service is NOT replaced by the AeroTrain underground/subway system described just above.

Transport to/from IAD

Rental Cars

Major rental car firms have shuttle buses that take passengers from the ground transportation "island" at the arrivals level to the firm's site. Many firms have on-airport locations about 5-10 minutes from the Main Terminal. Some firms are off-airport.

There is an Exxon petrol station just before the rental car return area; normally the fuel prices at that Exxon are about the same as nearby off-airport locations. So re-fueling a rental car can be done at the airport just before the car return.

Taxi Service

Because of issues with having sufficient taxi cabs available (at least historically), the MWAA has setup a franchised Washington Flyer taxi service. Although the taxis have similar branding, nearly all taxis are operated by drivers who are independent contractors. This arrangement has helped ensure good availability of taxi cabs nearly all the time. It also has ensured that all taxis are in good working order and reasonably clean inside. There are two managed taxi stands (one on the east side, and one on the west side) on the arrivals level of the Main Terminal. All legal cabs will have meters and will NOT be soliciting for passengers.

Please note the District of Columbia (Washington, DC) now requires that all DC taxi cabs have and use meters. This is a change from their historic, and widely disliked, "zone" system. This only affects people who are originating their taxi journey within DC.

Public Transit

Dulles Airport has good, if poorly publicised, connections with the Washington MetroRail (subway) and several bus services. In turn, the MetroRail system has good connections to various public bus services and to several different passenger rail stations.

Airport Shuttle Bus to/from MetroRail

There are at least 2 options. Opinions vary on which of these is best. In part, the best choice likely will depend on one's origin/destination, day of week, time of day, and quantity of luggage.

Washington Flyer Express Coach
  • This runs regularly non-stop between IAD's main terminal arrivals level and the West Falls Church station of the Washington MetroRail (subway/underground) system in Fairfax County, Virginia.
  • This bus has dedicated luggage racks and does not attract many commuters. It travels along the Dulles Airport Access Road, rather than along the Dulles Toll Road, so is not normally subject to commuter traffic congestion.
  • To use this, enquire at the Washington Flyer counter located dead center (along the east-west axis) of the arrivals level of the Main Terminal. The fare is $10 one way or $18 roundtrip, with the trip taking 20-30 minutes. Note that West Falls Church is in Fairfax County, so is west of both Washington, DC and Arlington County, VA. However, once on MetroRail, one is not subject to the frequent traffic backups on I-66.
Metrobus Route 5A
  • This runs every 30-60 minutes during the day between Dulles Airport, Herndon, Tysons Corner (midday and weekend only), Rosslyn MetroRail station (in Arlington County, VA), and the L'Enfant Plaza MetroRail station (in Washington, DC). This bus does NOT have dedicated luggage racks and can be crowded with ordinary commuters.
  • Because of its intermediate stops, this bus travels on the Dulles Toll Road and I-66, both of which can be very congested during the lengthy commuter hours (weekdays; roughly 6-9am, 4-7pm). The Washington Post newspaper reported on 21st December 2009 that the 5A bus is often crowded with commuters during the lengthy (3 hours each) morning and evening commuter rush hours.
  • This trip is 30-50 minutes long, depending upon traffic congestion, origin/destination, and other factors. Only exact change or WMATA SmartTrip payment cards are accepted. One pays when boarding the bus.

Local Bus

The MetroBus Route 5A service described just above can be taken to the nearby Herndon/Monroe Street bus depot.

Connections to the Fairfax Connector local bus services can be made at that bus depot. Eventually, the Herndon/Monroe Street facility also will be a MetroRail station on the Silver Line.

Railway

  • Amtrak's Washington Union Station, its New Carrollton, MD station, and its Alexandria, VA station all have co-located MetroRail stations. Amtrak service along the NorthEast Corridor through Philadelphia, New York City, and on to Boston is frequent and reliable. Amtrak service south of Washington through Virginia has improved in recent years, but is not nearly as frequent.
  • Maryland's commuter rail service, MARC includes stops at Washington Union Station and at New Carrollton station, which are both served by Metro Rail. This is primarily oriented at commuters and does not offer late night or weekend service.
  • Virginia's commuter rail service, Virginia Railway Express (VRE), has its northern terminus at Washington Union Station and also serves the Alexandria, VA railway station, in addition to several other stops west to Manassas or south to Fredericksburg. MetroRail serves both Washington Union Station and the Alexandria, VA railway station. This is primarily oriented at commuters and does not offer late night or weekend service.

Future MetroRail Access

The Dulles Corridor Transit Project, also known as the Silver Line, extends the Washington MetroRail system west through Fairfax County, VA, to Washington/Dulles Airport, and continuing into eastern Loudoun County, VA. The rail alignment largely is in the median of the Dulles Airport Access Road, which itself is in the median of the Dulles Toll Road/Greenway (VA Route 267).

  • Phase 1 is scheduled to begin service in early 2014. This phase runs from the existing East Falls Church station, through McLean, Tyson's Corner, and out to the future Wiehle Avenue/Reston East MetroRail station (in the unincorporated community of Reston). Construction is already well underway all along this section.
  • After Phase 1 opens, the Washington Flyer Coach Service (described above) is expected to drop in price, increase in frequency, and run between IAD and the (now under construction) Wiehle Avenue/Reston East Metro Rail station. This ought to greatly improve transfers between IAD and MetroRail.
  • Phase 2 will start at the Wiehle Avenue/Reston East station, and continue west, through Reston and the Town of Herndon, to Dulles Airport. Eventually, the Silver Line also will extend northwest of the airport into eastern Loudoun County, VA, along the route of the Greenway toll road. Construction on Phase 2 is likely to begin in early 2014.
  • Although MWAA initially voted to place the Dulles Airport MetroRail station underground between the Main Terminal and Garage A, MWAA later reversed this decision after complaints from elected officials in Virginia. The current plan is to have an aboveground station -- exposed to the weather -- immediately south of Garage A. This change will reduce the construction cost for the Dulles Airport station substantially, although many travellers remain concerned that the outdoor station will reduce airport passenger use of MetroRail.

Connecting to/from Washington/Reagan National Airport (DCA)

Washington/Reagan National Airport also has its own Metrorail station. See section above on Airport Shuttle Bus to/from MetroRail to learn how to get from either the Rosslyn or West Falls Church MetroRail stations to Dulles Airport.

Connecting to/from Baltimore-Washington Marshall Airport (BWI)

Although BWI is marketed as serving Washington, it really is the Baltimore, MD airport and is not particularly close to Washington, DC. Regardless of which of these options one chooses, it is not a short trip. Depending upon time of day and other factors, this trip might take between 1 and 3 hours. One is travelling a substantial distance -- 3 counties within VA, DC itself, and then 3 counties within MD.

See the Airport Shuttle Bus to/from MetroRail section above for bus travel options between Dulles Airport and MetroRail.

Once at any MetroRail station, there are again at least 2 options. Which is faster depends on time of day, day of week, and other factors.

  • 1) take MetroRail to Union Station, and then take a MARC or Amtrak train to BWI. BWI Airport has a free shuttle van connecting the airport terminal buildings to the BWI Airport railway station.
  • 2) take MetroRail to the Greenbelt MetroRail station, and then take MetroBus Route B-30 to BWI.