Washington’s Airports Advise Travelers to Plan Ahead for a Smooth Journey

With passenger levels trending upward in 2022, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is advising airport travelers to expect congested airport-area roads, full parking facilities, busy terminals and new customer amenities for the upcoming travel season spanning Veterans Day weekend, Thanksgiving and other holidays through New Year’s Day. The Airports Authority is sharing essential tips travelers can use to prepare for a smooth journey. 

Arrive Early 

To make it to their flights on time, departing passengers are advised to plan to enter the terminal two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight. Factors such as traffic, parking availability and lines can slow a passenger’s journey when flying at popular travel times. 

Expect Full Parking Facilities 

  • Parking will be in high demand – especially around weekends and holidays. Reserve parking at Reagan National or Dulles International well in advance to guarantee space. Customers with reservations can park even if the garage or lot is full. Dulles has a large capacity for Economy parking, but riding shuttle buses adds to the time needed to reach the terminal. 

  • Travelers are encouraged to use wayfinding apps when driving to terminals or parking facilities to pinpoint their pick-up or drop-off location. Terminal names at Reagan National were updated in June

  • Passengers departing from Terminal 2 at Reagan National can use Express Passenger Drop Off to expedite their travel experience.  

  • New in 2022: Both airports upgraded and added electric vehicle charging stations inside parking garages. Reagan National has 103 chargers in Parking Garage 2. Dulles International has 16 chargers in Parking Garage 1 and 12 in Parking Garage 2. 

“The team at Reagan National Airport has been doing its part to prepare for a very busy 2022 holiday travel season,” said Paul Malandrino, vice president and Reagan National Airport manager. “Over the past few months, we have seen an increase in parking demand at the airport and are encouraging travelers to make reservations now, as well as consider alternative ways to arrive at the airport, such as utilizing ride share services, Metro and hotel shuttles.” 

Use Metrorail to Avoid Traffic  

  • Metrorail provides an option to arrive at the airport without a car and avoid traffic congestion. 

  • The Metrorail station at Reagan National is connected by walkways to Terminals 1 and 2 for passenger convenience. Rail service to all stations south of the airport resumed on November 6, 2022. Trains north to Washington, D.C., operate via the Blue Line while a major Yellow Line project is ongoing. 

  • The Silver Line Metrorail station at Dulles International opens on November 15, as announced by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Dulles International will post new wayfinding signage leading to the Dulles station, which is connected to the Main Terminal by a pedestrian walkway with moving sidewalks. Until the station opens, the airport’s Silver Line Express bus service from Wiehle-Reston East Metro station will continue service for customers for $5 each way. 

“Dulles International Airport, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, has been working diligently behind the scenes to prepare for new Metrorail service," said Richard Golinowski, vice president and Dulles International Airport manager. “The addition of the Silver Line will be a game-changer, and we are looking forward to introducing Dulles travelers to a new level of convenience as the busy holiday travel season takes off.”  

Prepare for Screening at TSA Checkpoints  

  • Both TSA checkpoints inside Reagan National’s Terminal 2 and Dulles International’s main terminal serve a wide variety of airlines. Passengers can use whichever checkpoint is more convenient. 

  • TSA recommends enrolled travelers to use its expedited TSA PreCheck screening program to reduce wait times through security screening. Dulles International has a dedicated PreCheck screening area on the Departures level. 

  • Passengers may review TSA’s database of prohibited items and request special services in advance.  

Experience New Airport Amenities 

  • The exteriors of the terminal and parking garages have been restored to a brighter look at Dulles International.

  • An all-new American Airlines Admirals Club opened inside Reagan National’s Concourse E. 

  • New concessions in Concourse E include Elevation Burger and Timber Pizza.  

  • Two locations of The Café at DCA opened pre-security in Terminal 2 in the security checkpoint areas. 

  • Mobile ordering for select concessions is available at both airports. Passengers can order for pickup via the DC Airports App.