A brief guide to Washington Dulles International airport

Dulles airport near Washington DC (USA) is located in the state of Virginia, 42 kilometres west of central Washington, and serves either as final point for domestic and international routes or as connecting hub for travellers flying into it from 125 destinations across the globe. This air travel complex in the United States features a particular arrangement of its passenger terminals and is considered an architectural icon in this region of North America: it has one main terminal effectively linked to two mid-field or satellite ones by underground express trains, people movers and pedestrian walkways. Read below to know how to get around Dulles airport easily and arrive at your boarding gate in a breeze.

Terminals of Dulles airport in Washington

-The main terminal building of Dulles accommodates the airline ticketing offices, check-in counters, baggage reclaim halls, the international arrivals area and US Customs. After security, the only boarding gates in this terminal are gates Z (designated for Air Canada and Fly Frontier operations) and gates H, available for all airlines that do not have permanent gates assigned. Note that both TSA Pre-check application offices and checkpoints are available at this airport.

-The A/B concourse or satellite terminal is where all flights excepting those handled by United land and take off. The Aerotrain system, which has been in operation for almost a decade now, transports passengers in transit to the international departures zone to board their plane or from the plane to domestic arrivals. Those flying into Washington from overseas that have already gone through preclearance at their origin airport will need to take a people mover in order to reach baggage claim; otherwise, everyone who must go through US customs upon arrival will be guided to the main building for that purpose.

-The C/D concourse or satellite terminal in Washington Dulles is exclusively dedicated to United operations and is home to several United Clubs.

Flights to Washington Dulles airport in the USA

The following are the most popular airlines flying to Washington on a scheduled regular basis, either directly or offering the option of having a layover/stopover along the way.

Aer Lingus (from Dublin), Aeroflot (Moscow Sheremetyevo), Aeromexico (Mexico), Air Canada Express (Toronto Pearson, Montreal), Air China (Beijing Capital), Air France (Paris CDG), Air India (New Delhi), All Nippon Airways (Tokyo Narita), American Airlines (LAX, Miami, Dallas Fort Worth), Austrian Airlines (Vienna), Avianca (Bogotá), British Airways (London Heathrow), Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong), Copa (Panama), Delta (Atlanta, Seattle), Emirates (DXB), Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi), Icelandair (Reykjavik, Keflavik), JetBlue (Boston Logan, NYC JFK), KLM (Amsterdam), Korean Air (Seoul Incheon), Lufthansa (Munich and Frankfurt), Qatar Airways (Doha), Royal Air Maroc (Casablanca), SAS (Copenhagen), Southwest (Denver, Orlando), Turkish Airlines (Istanbul) and United (a wide range of destinations within the US and abroad including Chicago O’hare, Brussels, Cancun, Las Vegas, Newark, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, Sao Paulo Guarulhos and Zürich).

Free WiFi and charging stations at Dulles airport

Whether you are travelling for work or not, you will probably be glad to be able to use WiFi and charge your phone in Washington Dulles while waiting to board the plane. Complimentary wireless internet access is provided all throughout the airport and only requires a simple log-in process. As for charging stations for your mobile devices, you will find several of them in concourses B, C and D, as well as in the arrivals area of the main terminal building. Moreover, most restaurants and cafés in Dulles have power outlets by the seats.

Travelling from Washington Dulles airport to the city centre

If you choose public transport to commute from Dulles International airport to Washington DC downtown, we recommend taking the Silver Line Express Bus connecting with the Metrorail Silver Line, which can get you straight to central Washington comfortably and affordably. First, you will need to purchase your ticket at the counter next to baggage claim in the arrivals hall of the main terminal; services run from 6:00 to 22:00 (schedules may vary according to the day of the week).

The Silver Line Express Bus will take you to the Wiehle Reston East station, a point from where you can travel by metro to the city centre. However, bear in mind –especially if you are carrying heavy luggage- that this network is undergoing expansion and the closest metro station to your accommodation may still be miles away from it. In such case, check if your hotel in Washington provides pick-up services or hire a private shuttle; even when this option will surely be more expensive, it might be much more convenient.

Other passenger services available

There are shops and restaurants on the different levels of the main terminal and the concourses at Dulles airport, and also pet relief zones, Duty Free outlets, a chapel, baby changing rooms and VIP lounges open to those flying business or first class with Air France, British Airways, Etihad, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, United or Virgin Atlantic.