The recent Thanksgiving holiday season proved to be a busy time at Washington Dulles International Airport this year and it is estimated that the Christmas travel season will attract passengers to the airport as well. At Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the limited operations during Thanksgiving greatly reduced the usual number of travelers.
"We are looking forward to serving the traveling public this season at our two airports," says Airports Authority President/CEO James A. Wilding, "and we want to make the trip through our facilities as smooth as possible."
With that in mind, the Airports Authority offers these travel tips for the holidays:
Before Leaving Home:
- Leave early. Airline and airport officials urge travelers to arrive at the airport 2 hours in advance of domestic flights and 3 hours in advance of international flights at Dulles to allow time for ground transportation, parking, luggage check-in and security screening.
- Pack wisely. Limit carry on items that may be in question. Only 1 carry on bag and one personal item will be allowed through security. Do not pack sharp items. Expect to have any carry-on items scrutinized and do not gift-wrap presents that you plan to take. Electronic equipment will also be examined carefully and laptop computers must be removed from carrying cases.
- Confirm your flight information. Call your airline's 800 number to re-confirm your flight or to answer questions about carry-on luggage.
- Keep an eye on the weather. Weather can greatly affect flight schedules. Snow and winter storms may cause delays or even cancellations so check both the local weather forecasts and those for the destination to which you are traveling. The Airports Authority website, provides information on flights for a two hour time block. Another good source of air traffic delays around the country is the Federal Aviation Administration website,www.fly.faa.gov.
Ground Transportation to the Airport and Parking - There have been changes to the Terminal parking lot at Dulles Airport due to construction.
- The lot in front of the Terminal offers only Hourly and Valet parking. Pedestrians will also see new walkways to the Terminal and new waiting areas for ground transportation. Daily parking is located east of the Terminal but that lot fills quickly. There is ample Economy parking in lots located near the entrance to the Airport which provide the largest supply of spaces at the most economical rate. Free airport shuttle buses operate between the economy lots to the terminals. For parking information at Dulles please call 703-572-4500.
- At Reagan National Airport, parking is available in three parking garages and in the Economy Lot. Travelers can receive up-to-the-minute parking information by calling 703-417-PARK (7275).
- Park for 20 minutes free when meeting passengers. Those dropping off or meeting incoming passengers can park for free for 20 minutes in the hourly parking lots at both airports. If you wish to drop off or pick up passengers along the curbside at the airport, be aware that unattended vehicles will be ticketed and towed and lingering at the curb will not be allowed.
- Dial 530 AM -- The Airport Channel on your car radio will keep you up-to-date on available parking at the airports.
- Try the Washington Flyer or SuperShuttle Service. If you don't want to drive to the airports, consider the Washington Flyer bus service from West Falls Church to Dulles Airport. For information about this service, please call (703) 685-1400 or 1-888-WASHFLY. In addition, SuperShuttle provides door-to-door shared-ride service to both airports, please call 1-800-BLUEVAN.
- Take Metro. Travelers using Reagan National Airport often find Metro a good alternative to driving. The Airports Authority also encourages Dulles passengers to consider taking Metro to the Metro West Falls Church Station and connecting to the Washington Flyer Bus to Dulles.
At the Airport
- Be prepared for higher security measure. Airlines require seeing a government-issued photo I.D., such as a driver's license or passport for passengers over age 18 before going through airport security screening. Your ID may be checked at the ticket counter, security screening and airline boarding gate.
- New requirements this season Only passengers with airline tickets will be permitted through the security screening area. People who accompany small children or passengers who need medical assistance may make arrangements with the airline.
- Keep valuables with you. Carry medicine, cash, jewelry and other important valuables with you on the plane. Have identification tags on the outside and inside of your luggage; these tags are available at the airline ticket counters although it will save time to do this before you arrive. If you leave your car at the airport, remove any valuables. Carry your purse and wallet securely, and keep your luggage and carry-on items in your sight at all times. For security reasons unattended bags and other items will be confiscated and destroyed.
- Enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment while you wait. Passengers are welcome to pick up those last holiday gifts at a wide variety of national and local retail stores and fill up at our restaurants while they wait. Additionally, musical performances will greet the flying public the week before Christmas from choral and music groups from Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, Virginia and Carl Sandburg Middle School in Alexandria, Virginia. See the schedule below:
Musical Entertainment Schedule:
Wednesday, December 19th
Carl Sandburg Middle School Orchestra
10 a.m. - 12 noon
Friday, December 21st
Stone Bridge High School Band - Jazz Group
10 a.m. - 12 noon
For more information about Ronald Reagan Washington National and Washington Dulles International Airports, call (703) 417-8000 for National and (703) 572-2700 for Dulles. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority wishes a happy holiday season to area travelers.