Advice for getting to and through Reagan National and Dulles International airports during the busy holiday season

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority expects busy travel at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport to continue through the year-end holiday season. This continues the trend observed during Thanksgiving, when passenger volumes reached close to 2019 activity levels.

While the peaks should not be as pronounced as those in November, the Airports Authority expects to see significant airport travel on the last two weeks of December and the first few days of January, as family and friends reunite and enjoy vacation travel once again.

Congestion is expected on airport roadways, inside the terminals and, especially, at Reagan National, in airport parking facilities. In addition, passengers arriving or departing from Reagan National will navigate  through one of two newly opened security checkpoints into much larger post-security space and have access to a wide variety of post-security shopping and dining options.

To ensure a faster, more enjoyable and less stressful experience when coming to Reagan National or Dulles International this holiday season, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make a parking reservation in advance
    Parking will be in high demand on peak days and beyond. It is essential that passengers planning to park at Reagan National Airport make a reservation in advance to guarantee space in the Terminal garages or the Economy lot. Even if the garages or lots are full, customers with an advanced reservation will be reserved a space.

Customers at Reagan National can reserve parking no later than 12 hours prior to their trip at:

Customers at Dulles International may also wish to make their trip easier by reserving parking online at

  • 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 the Crystal City or Braddock Road stations to avoid driving to the airport.
  • New drop off option at Reagan National
    For DCA passengers on Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue and United who don’t have luggage to check, Express Drop Off provides the fastest walk between the curb and the gate without going up or down. Their driver should follow purple signs to “Express Passenger Drop Off,” avoiding much of the traffic that normally goes to the Ticketing or Bag Claim level roads. Signs from the curb lead directly to security screening checkpoints for Terminals B and C.
  • Know where to go
    Holiday travelers at Reagan National will find a new path inside the airport, as the airport’s two new consolidated security checkpoints opened on November 9. Customers should follow in-airport signage and give themselves extra time to navigate the changes and take advantage of an additional 100,000 square feet of post-security space, with expanded access to shopping and dining options. Customers can visit to learn more.
  • Fly healthy and safe
    By federal mandate, face masks are still always required inside the airport and on-board the aircraft when not actively eating and drinking. Let an airline representative or agent at the security checkpoint know if you need a complimentary mask.
  • Dulles International pick-ups and drop-offs are easier than ever
    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.

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.

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 and