Updates and recommendations for a smooth experience at Reagan National and Dulles International as travel increases
As the popular spring break travel period approaches in the National Capital Region, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is gearing up to welcome passenger numbers expected to rival pre-pandemic levels at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) between now and the end of April.
With more travelers passing through the airports and more vehicles transiting airport roadways, here are the top tips to prepare for a safe and enjoyable experience when coming to Reagan National or Dulles International this spring:
1. Reserve parking in advance
Parking at the airports is in high demand, with more travelers driving personal vehicles to the airport compared with the pre-pandemic period. With facilities expected to fill quickly – and even completely sell out at Reagan National – on busy travel days, passengers planning to park at the airport when departing for a trip are highly encouraged to book their parking spaces well in advance to guarantee a spot (DCA parking reservations, IAD parking reservations). When signs at garages or lots display “full,” customers with reservations can still enter and park. If you’re planning to park at the airport and haven’t made a reservation, check the latest parking availability prior to leaving home (DCA, IAD). Passengers may also consider alternative modes of transportation, such as taking Metrorail to the DCA station.
2. Arrive at least two hours before departure time
While it may seem excessive, passengers are encouraged to arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to their flight’s departure time, as the airports are expected to be at their busiest since the beginning of COVID-19. Allow plenty of time to arrive, check any bags, clear the TSA security checkpoints and proceed to the gate.
3. Be prepared for COVID-19 safety protocols
Per federal regulation, face coverings are still required at all times for everyone over the age of 2 while at the airports and throughout their journey. For passengers departing to destinations that require proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to entry, XpresCheck has opened pre-security in-airport testing centers at Reagan National and Dulles International and offers PCR and rapid testing. XpresCheck encourages customers to make appointments online to ensure testing availability during this busy travel time.
4. Try new concession options
There are some exciting new food and beverage and retail options now open, including Devil’s Backbone Taproom at Dulles International and high-end cosmetics retailer M.A.C. at Reagan National. Before coming to the airport, be sure to plan ahead by visiting the interactive shopping and dining website pages for Reagan National or Dulles International, which provide the latest status and operating hours for available concessions both pre- and post-security.
5. There’s a new way to use DCA
Reagan National Airport has completed its biggest transformation in more than 20 years: opening two new security checkpoint buildings. These consolidated security screening areas expand shopping and dining options for ticketed passengers flying out of Terminal B/C and make connecting to flights easier than ever. Customers planning trips through DCA can learn more about navigating the new checkpoints here.
6. Review the TSA’s security checkpoint guidelines
For passengers who haven’t flown in a while, it’s important to review the guidelines for clearing the TSA security checkpoint prior to their flight, as some rules and restrictions may have changed. Check the TSA’s own tips for smooth spring break travel here, which include reminders about limits on liquids, how to pack food and which items are prohibited.
The Airports Authority wishes all those traveling through Reagan National and Dulles International a safe journey and an enjoyable spring. For more travel tips and information visit FlyReagan.com and FlyDulles.com.