Air Travel


Air Travel

A flight to D.C. from New York takes a little less than an hour. It's about 1½ hours from Chicago, 3 hours from Denver or Dallas, and 5 hours from San Francisco. Passengers flying from London should expect a trip of about 6 hours. From Sydney it's an 18-hour flight.

Airline Contacts

AirTran (800/247–8726.

American Airlines/American Eagle (800/433–7300.

Delta Airlines (800/221–1212.

JetBlue (800/538–2583.

Southwest Airlines (800/435–9792.

United Airlines (800/864–8331.

US Airways (800/428–4322.

Airline Security Issues

Transportation Security Administration (866/289–9673.

Air Travel Resources in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Transportation Aviation Consumer Protection Division (202/366–2220.


The major gateways to D.C. are Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Virginia, 4 miles south of Downtown Washington; Dulles International Airport (IAD), 26 miles west of Washington, D.C.; and Baltimore/Washington International–Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) in Maryland, about 30 miles to the northeast.

Reagan National Airport is closest to Downtown D.C. and has a Metro stop in the terminal. East Coast shuttles and shorter flights tend to fly in and out of this airport. Dulles is configured primarily for long-haul flights, although as a United hub, it's also well-connected regionally. BWI offers blended service, with its many gates for Southwest Air, as well as international flights. Although the Metro doesn't serve Dulles or BWI, there is affordable and convenient public transportation to and from each airport. Be aware that the Mid-Atlantic region is prone to quirky weather that can snarl air traffic, especially on stormy summer afternoons.

Airport Information

Baltimore/Washington International-Thurgood Marshall Airport (800/435–9294.

Dulles International Airport (703/572–2700.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (703/417–8000.

Ground Transportation: Reagan National (DCA)

By Car: Take the George Washington Memorial Parkway north for approximately 1 mile. Exit on I–395 North; bear left onto US–1 North toward Downtown. For the city center, turn left on Madison Drive NW and turn right on 15th Street NW. The drive takes 20–30 minutes, depending on traffic and your destination.

By Metro: The Metro station is within easy walking distance of Terminals B and C, and a free airport bus shuttles between the station and Terminal A. The Metro ride to Downtown takes about 20 minutes and costs about $2.20, depending on the time of day and your final destination.

By Shuttle: SuperShuttle, a fleet of bright blue vans, will take you to any hotel or residence in the city. The length of the ride varies, depending on traffic and the number of stops. The approximately 20-minute ride from Reagan National to Downtown averages $14.

By Taxi: Expect to pay $20–$25 to get from National to Downtown. Note that a $2.50 surcharge is added to the metered fare from this airport. Large items of luggage placed in the trunk cost an additional 50¢ per item. Taxi rip-offs have decreased since the District introduced meters, but if the fare seems astronomical, get the driver's name and cab number and contact the D.C. Taxi Commission.


SuperShuttle (800/258–3826 or 202/296–6662.

Taxicab Commission (311 or 202/645–6018.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (202/637–7000; 202/638–3780 TTY.

Ground Transportation: Baltimore/Washington International (BWI)

By Car: Exit BWI and follow I–95 West. Take Exit 2B to MD–295 South for 24 miles; exit on US–50 West toward Washington. Continue on New York Avenue for about 3 miles; continue on Mount Vernon Place NW for 2 miles. Continue on Massachusetts Avenue NW; turn left on Vermont Avenue NW at Thomas Circle. Turn right on K Street NW; take a left on 17th Street NW and you're now basically in the city center. The distance is about 34 miles and should take 50–60 minutes.

By Public Transit: Amtrak and Maryland Rail Commuter Service (MARC) trains run between BWI and Washington, D.C.'s Union Station from around 6 am to 10 pm. The cost of the 30-minute ride is $15–$71 on Amtrak and $6 on MARC's Penn Line, which runs only on weekdays. A free shuttle bus transports passengers between airline terminals and the train station (which is in a distant parking lot).

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) operates express bus service (Bus B30) between BWI and the Greenbelt Metro station. Buses run between 6 am and 10 pm. The fare is $6.

By Shuttle: SuperShuttle will take you to any hotel or residence in the city. The ride from BWI, which takes approximately 60 minutes, averages $37.

By Taxi: The fare from BWI is about $90.


Amtrak (800/872–7245.

Maryland Rail Commuter Service (410/539–5000; 410/539–3497 TTY; 866/743–3682.

SuperShuttle (800/258–3826 or 202/296–6662.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (202/637–7000; 202/638–3780 TTY.

Ground Transportation: Dulles (IAD)

By Car: From Dulles Airport, exit onto Dulles Airport Access Road and follow this for 14 miles; merge onto VA–267 East. Merge onto I–66 East; follow this for approximately 6 miles and exit to the left on E Street Expressway. Take the ramp to E Street NW. Total distance from the airport to Downtown is about 27 miles and should take about 45 minutes.

By Public Transit: Washington Flyer links Dulles International Airport and the West Falls Church Metro station. The 30-minute ride is $10 one-way and $18 round-trip for adults, free for children under six. Buses run every half hour from 5:45 am to 10:15 pm. All coaches are accessible to those in wheelchairs. Fares may be paid with cash or credit card at the ticket counter near Door 4 at the Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level. Board the bus just outside the door.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) operates express bus service between Dulles and several stops in Downtown D.C., including the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station and Rosslyn Metro station in Arlington, Virginia, just across the river from Georgetown. Bus 5A, which costs $6, runs every hour between 5:30 am and 11:30 pm from curb location 2E in the second lane on the (lower) arrivals level in front of the terminal. Make sure to have the exact fare or a rechargeable SmarTrip card, as drivers cannot make change.

By Shuttle: The roughly 45-minute ride from Dulles on the SuperShuttle runs $29 for one person, $10 for each additional person. Sign in with the attendants at the lower-level doors, down the ramp when you exit the terminal.

By Taxi: The fare to Washington D.C. from Dulles is about $50–$60.


SuperShuttle (800/258–3826 or 202/296–6662.

Washington Flyer (888/927–4359.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (202/637–7000; 202/638–3780 TTY.

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