Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

11/18/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/18/2021 08:48

Important Holiday Travel Tips for a Better Journey Through Washington, D.C.’s Airports

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is gearing up for a busy holiday travel season between Thanksgiving and the New Year at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport, with passenger traffic approaching pre-pandemic levels not seen since 2019.

As Thanksgiving approaches, the Airports Authority expects to see heavier traffic and passenger volumes traveling through its two National Capital Region airports from November 19 through November 29 - especially on peak travel days leading up to and immediately following the November 25 holiday.

Significantly higher 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 find new passenger pathways, which will take them through one of two newly opened TSA security checkpoints into a much larger post-security space and, depending on their gate, into the new 14-gate concourse that replaced Gate 35X and its bus rides to outdoor boarding areas.

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
Holiday parking will be in high demand. 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. With passenger loads increasing, and more customers electing to park their own vehicles at the airport, the airport's parking facilities have been reaching capacity in recent weeks.

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.

Know where to go
Holiday travelers at Reagan National will find a new path inside the airport, as the 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 required at all times inside the airport and on-board the aircraft when not actively eating or drinking. Let an airline representative or agent at the security checkpoint know if you need a complimentary mask.

Arrive at least two hours early for domestic, three hours early for international flights
To accommodate potential traffic congestion on airport roadways or long lines in the terminal and avoid missing flights, plan to arrive inside the terminal early - at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international departures.

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