Reagan National (aka DCA) is the closest airport to Washington, DC and my airport of choice. Starting in January, the roads leading to the airport are expected to be very congested thanks to a major construction project that will add new gates, new security checkpoints, and more.
Locals generally really like DCA because it’s close to town, metro accessible, and reasonably efficient. But if you’re flying from DC to cities served by small regional jets or turboprops, you may be unlucky enough to find yourself leaving from gate 35X, which means you’ll be taking a bus to a remote stand.
This new construction is supposed to eliminate the dreaded 35X and its remote stands, and security checkpoints will now be housed in an expansion of the main airport terminal. This expansion will be built above the arrivals area roadway – hence the anticipated delays. The delays caused by this construction are supposed to last from January 2018 through July 2019.
Some bigger changes to the traffic configuration around DCA are planned for the future, so the congestion will likely continue for years to come. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as the construction-induced fiasco that’s surrounded New York’s LaGuardia Airport in recent years.
If you can, take the Metro to and from DCA: it’s usually the fastest way to get to the city anyway, and it won’t be significantly affected by the construction. However, the Metro doesn’t run 24 hours a day, and track work on nights and weekends can mean reduced service…so check wmata.com before your trip to plan ahead.
If Metro isn’t an option and you plan on driving, allow extra time, or even consider getting dropped off or picked up at the Crystal City Metro station, just one stop north of the airport.
Of course, there’s always BWI and Dulles, but those airports are quite a ways from downtown DC.
Fellow DC people — any other tips for dealing with construction at DCA?