IAD Informational Thread

Discussion in 'BWI/DCA/IAD | Washington D.C. Area Airports' started by IMGone, Feb 13, 2011.  |  Print Topic

    • Original Member

    IMGone Silver Member

    Post useful information for visitors to IAD to review

    Customs/Immigration
    Everyone arriving at a US airport from an international location must go through C&I, the airport facilities do not support transit areas for connecting passengers (eg coming from europe to asia, via the US - even though you're passing through, you will still need to go through C&I upon arrival in the US)

    There are two locations at IAD where you might enter the US off an international flight. If flying UA or a *A partner and are connecting to another outbound flight, you'll be processed at the mid-field terminal under C.
    For anyone terminating their travel at IAD or flying a non-*A airline, they will be processed at the main terminal facilities. Global Entry kiosks are located to the far right as you reach the bottom of the escalator!!

    In both cases, once you go through the immigration process, you will need to collect your checked luggage, proceed through customs and then (if connecting) re-check your luggage with the airline. Usually airline staff and baggage check facilities are available immediately after customs.

    Connecting at IAD
    IAD now has an aerotrain (late 2010) that travels from the main terminal to A then C; or from the main terminal to B. Note that there are long walks associated with the aero train if flying United Express from the Terminal A stop (up and down escalators) and an even longer walk to get to the C terminal from the aerotrain station. If arriving/departing into Terminal D, there are people mover/buses available that will take you to main terminal (not sure if there are any available to A/B with aerotrain)

    Terminals C and D are connected - it can be a longer walk to go from C1 to Terminal D.
    Terminals A and B are also connected - and that is also a very long walk from the express A gates all the way to the end of B

    Terminal Z is for US Airways and is part of the main terminal on a level below ticketing.

    From the above, note that IAD has a lot of walking required of the passengers transiting the airport. I've heard more than once from people that have selected other airports because of this issue with the airport design.

    Lounges
    UA has 3 lounges in Terminal C/D area - they are near C7, C17 and D5 . They now offer free basic wine/beer and some snacks.
    LH has a *A lounge in the B Terminal right across from the aerotrain stop. It has two levels, *Gold and HON members go upstairs, LH Biz customers are downstairs. They have restaurant service and pretty good food.

    There is a Virgin clubhouse that is a 2-level lounge

    Parking
    Parking is free for the first 20 minutes. You can pay for parking in the terminal at one of the available kiosks, so keep your parking stub with you.

    Valet Parking - Very expensive. You can use the underground walkway to go from valet to the terminal. I haven't used this recently, but it was convenient.
    Hourly Parking - don't use this if you're going to be there for more than an hour. The lot is located on the ground directly in front of the terminal
    Daily Parking - available in the two parking garages built to the right of the terminal (DL side) and across the parking lot with an underground walkway. In both cases, there is also a bus that can bring you to the terminal, I find the walking to be easier in both cases.
    Economy Parking - remote parking lots are color coded - there are blue, green and gold; for holidays when extra parking is needed, purple is also made available. These are serviced by buses. Buses are supposed to circle a minimum of every 20 minutes, I've called the phone number on the little stop shelter more than once to ask when the next one would be available if it was clear they weren't coming often enough. :)
    Cell Phone Parking - there is a free cell phone waiting lot where you are supposed to stay with your car.

    The buses from parking lots to the terminal have two stops, the first are for airlines like DL, B6, AF, etc and the second lot is mostly for UA, LH

    Security
    Security at IAD is generally a nightmare. They have installed the nude-o-scopes upstairs and downstairs.

    On the baggage level near belt #7 there is an employee checkpoint and directly next to that one, a Diamond line. The "Diamond" is a misnome as the line is used for wheelchairs and anyone else who wants to use it. The line though is usually shorter than heading downstairs and is run a bit better than the one downstairs. It closes at 7m (?) every night.

    Downstairs security is available from both sides of the terminal, the DL side usually has a shorter line versus the UA side due to the volume of passengers. In both cases, the TSA plays games with the passengers and lines - there are elite lines, but a warning that the id checkers can make the premium line be a much longer experience than the regular line as they throttle the through-put on a regular basis. Check where the lines are feeding to in terms of the ID checker - if the one servicing the premium line is also taking ID from the regular line, plus there is one or more ID checkers helping the regular lines, the regular lines might be the better bet.

    Once through security, either follow signs downstairs to the Aerotrain or up a level to the people mover or upstairs to Terminal Z (US Airways).
    • Original Member

    Phineas Silver Member

    American has a lounge in Terminal B right across from the escalators
    • Original Member

    Waterstrider Silver Member

    Another option for parking at Dulles is to park at the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride and you can either time it with the 5A Metro Bus to Dulles or call a cab to meet you. It's <$15 total for the cab one way. So if you'll be leaving the car for an extended period, it can save a lot of money. And it's got a covered garage.
    WaterSki likes this.
    • Original Member

    IMGone Silver Member

    BA just re-did their Lounge, it is supposed to be quite impressive including massage services and restaurant services.

    This is random information that might come in handy for someone who misplaces an item at IAD. I actually successfully recovered an item left at security (it fell out of my laptop bag). I left a message at the number and a human actually returned the call, and we coordinated when the item would be retrieved.

    IMG_20110216_151916-1.jpg
    • Original Member

    thegrailer Silver Member

    Is park and ride a pay lot?

    And a word to the wise, the 5A all the way from Rosslyn is a nightmare.

    • Original Member

    Waterstrider Silver Member

    The park and ride is free, and a covered garage :). And I completely agree, the 5A is a nightmare. Usually a cab works best unless the 5A happens to be there right when you are
    • Original Member

    IMGone Silver Member

    Isn't the "free" based on when you remove the car? During afternoon rush, for example, I'd think you'd have to pay a parking fee.
    • Original Member

    thegrailer Silver Member

    Thanks. So ~$30 for 2 taxi rides and free (depending?) parking. That is not that bad a deal.

    I typically try to find a local hotel with a decent stay and park rate - especially if there is a 2 or 3 for 1 for a freebie night or I am in need of a mattress run.

    I have also parked on the street near the Dulles Sheraton/Hyatt Place East and have taken one of their shuttles. Typically there is plenty of on street parking and no one asks - so far - on the shuttle [​IMG].
    • Original Member

    iolaire Gold Member

    Does CO consider DCA and IAD the same airport for departures?

    I have a DCA onward award reservation and am interested to know if I can change the departure to IAD (if a shorter/better route opens) and have the departure/arrival airport remain the "same".
    • Original Member

    CrankyScott Silver Member

    What is the easiest way to transfer from IAD to DCA?

    Thanks in advance :)
  1. jgg630 Silver Member

    Have 1:50 between flight coming from Dubai transiting to LGA. Is that enough time to get through c&i at IAD if flying United?
    • Original Member

    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

    Are you an American citizen? Do you have Global Entry?
  2. jgg630 Silver Member

    I'm an American citizen but Global Entry has been in Pending status for over a month. So no Global Entry.
  3. LAM Silver Member

    Easiest is a cab or car service. Cab will be between $60-75 depending on traffic. Cheapest would be the 6 bus to Rosslyn metro station to DCA on the Metro blue line. Another option would be Super Shuttle but there will be stops delivering other passengers.
    CrankyScott likes this.
    • Original Member

    CrankyScott Silver Member

    Thanks @LAM

    Go Airport Shuttle (goairportshuttle.com) quoted $47 for the transfer. I'm landing IAD 6PM on a Thursday, so worried about traffic increased taxi costs :-(

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