Dulles International Airport
Washington Dulles International Airport, located about 24 miles west of Washington DC, in northern Virginia, is one of the country’s busiest airports, and is the DC region’s largest. Unlike DC’s closest airport, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Dulles offers many international and long range domestic flights, in addition to a full array of regional flights.
Note that Dulles and Reagan National airports are not close to eachother. Double check your itinerary and make sure you go to the right one!
For Dulles flight information see their official site.
Getting to IAD
While not directly accessible by Metro at this time, there are many public and private transportation methods available to travel between DC and the airport.
Washington Flyer – Silver Line Express
The Washington Flyer Silver Line Express offers another option for bus transportation to IAD. The Flyer offers a coach bus departing from Wiehle-Reston Metro Station at the end of the Silver Line every 15-20 min between 6:00am and 10:40pm weekdays, or 7:45am and 10:40pm weekends. Travel time is about 10 minutes, but may be longer if traffic is heavy The trip will cost $5, and tickets can be purchased near door 4 for the main terminal’s arrival level. Passengers traveling to Dulles can purchase tickets upon arrival.
If traveling to IAD, use the north bus garage, and follow signs for the Washington Flyer at Wiehle-Reston. After exiting the station, there is a traffic circle for all the buses. The Washington Flyer coach bus is located to the left as you leave the metro station. The bus is a large coach style bus that says Washington Flyer on the side. Representatives are available to help you with large bags. Payment is upon arrival at Dulles with your preferred payment method. If you are in a rush, cash can be the fastest.
The Metrobus route 5A provides a reliable way to travel to or from the Washington Dulles International Airport. The bus runs on an hourly schedule, and takes about 40 minutes to travel between L’Enfant Station or Rosslyn Station to the airport. If taking the bus, be sure to build some flexibility into your schedule to account for varying traffic conditions. The trip will cost $7.50 (Metrobus requires exact change or use of a SmarTrip card; find schedules here)
While the bus has some luggage space, it is not designed to carry lots of gear. During busy times it can be a popular and crowded option, so it may not be the best option if you are not traveling light. At Dulles, look for the 5A at location 2E in the ground transportation area.
Taxi and Shuttle
Taxi service can be the most convenient way to travel between Dulles and Washington DC. The trip will typically cost between $50 and $70 to get to DC from downtown. Also consider group shuttle services or ride-share apps. With enough passengers these options can be reasonable options.
Inside the Airport
IAD consists of a main terminal for all arriving and departing passengers. This terminal includes ticketing, security, access to the airport’s main transportation method, the AeroTrain, baggage claim, and ground transportation. After passing through security, passengers can travel to concourses A-D by AeroTrain or shuttle, or they can walk to A and B gates directly. Z gates are also located in the main terminal building. A and B gates are located in a single building, as are C and D gates.
AeroTrain stops are located near A, B, and C gates (D gates are accessible via the C gate stop). An above ground shuttle service can transport passengers between A and D gates, and D gates and the main terminal. Shuttle service from the main terminal is the only way to get to H gates. If you are flying out of D gates, the shuttle is likely to be the fastest. Otherwise, AeroTrain is probably most efficient.