Washington DC Airport Guide

If you’re flying in, the first choice you need to make is which Washington DC airport to use. 

There’s a lot that goes into determining the best option. You’ll obviously want to consider how much flights to each airport cost, but you’ll also want to consider if you can get a nonstop flight (vs. one that require a connection) and whether the flight times work with your schedule.


There are pros and cons to each of the three Washington DC airports. Information about each airport, including transportation options, and approximate cost of getting downtown are detailed below. 

Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA)

Distance from downtown DC: 5 miles
Primary domestic carrier: American Airlines
Ground transportation options and approximate costs:

  • Taxi: $20
  • Lyft/Uber: varies
  • Metro: $2.50-$3.00 per person

Overall: All else equal, this is the superior airport due to its convenience and low-cost of getting into the city. Fly to Reagan National if you can.

Washington Dulles International (IAD)

Distance from downtown DC: 25 miles
Primary domestic carrier: United Airlines
Ground transportation options and approximate costs:

Overall: Dulles is far and not particularly easy to reach from downtown. When Metro’s Silver Line extension to Dulles opens in 2022 it will make getting from the airport to downtown significantly easier.

Baltimore Washington International (BWI)

Distance from downtown DC: 35 miles
Primary domestic carrier: Southwest Airlines
Ground transportation options and approximate costs:

Overall: BWI is farther away than Dulles but easier to access because of the MARC and Amtrak train connections to Union Station. Southwest Airlines offers nonstop flights to many U.S. cities.

About Trip Hacks DC

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation's Capital.

Everyone wants to get the most out of travel experience; we know that planning a trip can be fun but sometimes stressful. The tips and travel hacks offered here will help you make the most of your trip and avoid missing out on the best things the city has to offer. Our trip planning e-book is the perfect resource for every first-time Washington, DC visitor.

If you're looking for a guided experience once you arrive, Trip Hacks DC specializes in private tours; but has public tours options as well. Visit the Guided Tours section to learn about some of the suggested tours and the trip planning resources section for help preparing for your trip. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

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