Washington’s Airports Annual Holiday Travel Tips

Published: November 21, 2013

Travelers Can Expect Frequent Updates via Social Media and Parking Specials


Each year the travel industry prepares for the busiest travel season of the year, which begins around Thanksgiving and ends in the New Year. At Reagan National and Dulles International airports more than 1 million passengers are expected to travel through the two airports during the Thanksgiving holiday this year. In addition to its own preparations to help passengers at Washington’s airports enjoy their experience, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has special offers and airport tips for travelers as they prepare to take flight to visit family and friends. 

Enjoy Parking Deals at Dulles:

Dulles International Airport is offering parking specials for passengers. Passengers who park in the Dulles garages for four consecutive days between Nov. 22 and Dec. 2 can receive one of the four days free. Customers should print the coupon found at flydullesinternational.com and present it to the cashier when leaving the garage in order to take advantage of the deal. In addition to a free day of parking, travelers who park in the garage will be able to quickly reach the terminal through passenger walkways or ride a shuttle to the terminal with ease, while their car is protected from the elements.

Follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook:

Reagan National and Dulles International will be frequently updating their social media channels with information about travel tips and conditions to help passengers move with ease through the airports. Passengers can follow each airport via Twitter @Dulles_Airport and @Reagan_Airport or through Facebook at /FlyDulles and /ReaganAirport.

Get Started Early:

The Thanksgiving holiday rush is likely to start on Friday, Nov. 22, and continue through Monday, Dec. 2. Peak travel times are typically during the early morning (5:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.) and late afternoon (3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.). There could also be a mid-day peak (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Passengers are advised to arrive at least two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight, especially during these peak times.

Additionally, Airport Ambassadors — wearing distinctive yellow shirts — and Travelers Aid volunteers — wearing blue blazers — will be available to give directions, answer questions and offer assistance to passengers.

Try Something New:

  • New and existing airlines have added flights at both Reagan National and Dulles International Airports.
  • Additional security screening lanes are available: TSA Pre-Check security checkpoints have expanded at both airports. Learn more about TSA Pre-Check here.

Additional Holiday Travel Tips:

  • Confirm the status of your flight with your airline before coming to the airport. Weather here or in other parts of the country can affect flight schedules across the air travel network.
  • Print out your boarding pass or select an electronic boarding pass in advance. If your boarding pass states “TSA Pre✓” proceed to the appropriate security checkpoint. This will save valuable time when moving through the airport.
  • Bring government-issued photo ID to the airport for all adult passengers.
  • Expect full flights and full luggage bins onboard airplanes during the busiest days,  including the Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving. Plan your trip accordingly.
  • Pack wisely – no prohibited items in carry-on luggage; and no valuable items in checked luggage. Label your luggage so your name is plainly visible.
  • Dulles International travelers can check the wait times at the security checkpoints online and on their mobile devices at the Dulles website, and on large displays at the airport. The wait times are updated every minute and can help passengers make smarter decisions about the best way to get to their gates.
  • Reagan National should customers check parking availability online at www.mwaa.com/reagan or at 703-417-PARK (7275). Economy tends to fill during holiday periods.
  • Convenient dining options are available both pre-security and post-security at Reagan National and Dulles International. Sit down and enjoy a meal before your flight or order something to bring with you on the airplane. Shopping and Dining guides are available at Reaganfoodandshops.com andDullesfoodandshops.com
  • For travelers not familiar with the airport, printable one-page information sheets are available in the “Travel Tips” section at Dulles International or Reagan National webpages.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority was established in 1987 by the governments of Virginia and the District of Columbia to manage and operate Washington’s Ronald Reagan National and Dulles International airports, which together serve more than 40 million passengers a year. The Airports Authority also operates and maintains the Dulles Airport Access Road and the Dulles Toll Road and manages construction of the Silver Line project, a 23-mile extension of the Washington region’s Metrorail system into Loudoun County, Va. No taxpayer money is used to operate the toll road, which is funded by toll revenues, or the airports, which are funded through aircraft landing fees, rents and revenues from concessions. The Silver Line construction is funded by a combination of toll-road revenues, airport contributions and federal, state and local government appropriations. The Airports Authority is led by a 17-member board of directors appointed by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, the mayor of Washington, D.C., and the president of the United States.