When purchasing flights to Washington DC, you should first decide which airport to use. There are three choices when purchasing DC tickets: BWI, National, and Dulles. Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) is 30 miles Northeast from Washington DC, about halfway between DC and Baltimore. Almost half of the flights in and out of BWI are bargain flights operated by Southwest Airlines. Cheap flights to Washington DC can be achieved by using Southwest and taking a train to DC. Other ground transportation options to Washington DC from BWI include taxi, SuperShuttle and BWI Express bus. One-way fares range from $4.10 - $45.
Flights to Washington DC
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (still called "National" by locals and numerous Democrats) is located south of the city along the Potomac River, a few minutes by car and 15 to 20 minutes by Metro to downtown DC. National offers a full range of domestic flights on major, regional and commuter carriers. Recently renovated, National conveniently connects directly to the Yellow and Blue lines of the Metro subway system. Taxi fare to downtown is approximately $12-$15. Shared ride van service is also offered by SuperShuttle. National"s security procedures add certain precautions not in place at other airports, like the "30-minute rule": Passengers must stay in their seats for the 30 minutes prior to landing at National, and for the 30 minutes after their plane takes off from National.
Although not as convenient to downtown DC as National, Washington Dulles International Airport provides faster access to downtown DC than BWI, thanks to an uncongested airport access road that travels half the distance toward Washington. About a half hour drive west of the city, Dulles is DC"s closest airport with international service. Ground transportation is provided to the nearest Metro train stop, West Falls Church, where DC tickets are generally under $5 and trains run every 45 minutes. If you prefer, you can take one of the shuttles, or a cab, which will run you about $50 into downtown DC.
Domestic airlines with scheduled flights into all three of Washington DC"s airports include American, Continental, Northwest, United, and US Airways. Flights to Washington DC flights to New York and flights to Boston are quick, and best achieved by hourly daily shuttles. The Delta Shuttle travels daily between New York and Washington, while the US Airways Shuttle operates daily between Boston and Washington, and New York and Washington. Both airlines fly into and out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Cheap flights to Washington DC are getting easier to
find, particularly if you use Southwest or arrive via
Dulles. Low-fare airlines seem to be most successful and
dependable these days. Dulles airport has become a national
center in bargain travel, featuring cheap flights to Washington
DC operated by Ted Airlines, Frontier, Independence Air,
Delta Express, Air Tran, JetBlue, and America West.
Meanwhile, Five discount airlines use National Airport:
Frontier, America West, and Spirit.
Washington DC flights are available on more than 30 international airlines, including Aer Lingus, Alitalia, Aeroflot, Ethiopian, Icelandair, KLM, and three different British airlines: British Airways, British Midland, and Virgin Atlantic. There have been changes in security since 9/11, of course. Most recently, new passport requirements have been enacted. As of October 26, 2005 all countries must issue passports with digital photos or the required chip (e-passport) containing biometric information about the individual. Nonetheless, if you already had a passport prior to October 26, 2005, you can still use it through its expiration before you have to switch to the new technology. International visitors who need a visa to travel to the US must apply for one at an American embassy or consulate. For more information visit travel.state.gov.