Located 30 miles north of Washington DC, Baltimore Washington International Airport, or BWI, is the furthest of the area’s commercial airports. With destinations in North America and the caribbean, most traffic through BWI is domestic (with Dulles International Airport providing more international destinations). As a result of being a bit further from Washington DC, flights from BWI are often somewhat cheaper than other area airports. When choosing an area airport, it’s worth taking both ticket price and convenience into account.
There are numerous public and private transportation options for getting to BWI, but be sure to plan enough time for your trip; most methods will take at least an hour from downtown DC.
The MetroBus’s B30 route travels between Greenbelt Station (the last stop on Metro’s Green Line), and BWI. If taking the B30, make sure to leave plenty of time for travel to the airport. Getting to Greenbelt from downtown DC can take a while, especially with transfers. The B30 will add an additional 30 to 40 minutes. Buses are scheduled to leave every 30 to 40 minutes during operating hours. The trip will cost $6 (Metrobus requires exact change or use of a SmarTrip card). Busses pick up from outside concourses A/B, and E, on the lower level; follow signs for “Public Transit” and B30.
Maryland’s MARC commuter train system travels between DC and BWI during weekdays. For $6, the Penn Line offers service from Union Station to the airport, giving travelers direct access to DC’s Metro system. The BWI rail station has a regular shuttle between the train station and the airport.
Amtrak offers service between DC’s Union Station, and BWI’s train station. Fares vary between about $14 and $40. While trains are more expensive and less frequent than MARC, they are the only direct rail option on weekends. The BWI rail station has a regular shuttle between the train station and the airport.
While expensive, taxi service can be the most convenient method for traveling between Washington DC and BWI. With the airport just over 30 miles from downtown DC, fares can reach $90+, and if traffic is bad the trip can be over an hour and a half. For larger groups, a taxi can be a competitively priced option, and it can be the only option when traveling outside of operating hours for the B30, MARC, and Amtrak schedules. The SuperShuttle is an alternate option which provides shared airport pickup and drop-off (typically cheaper but less flexible than a taxi).
BWI consists of 5 concourses, A-E. Concourses A and B are connected inside security, while the others are not. Security checkpoints and gates are accessed on the airport’s upper level, while ground transportation, baggage claim, and arrivals can be found on the airport’s lower level. A lower level security checkpoint for gates A and B is also available, and often less crowded.