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Washington Dulles Airport Passenger Reviews and Customer Opinions



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WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review :  30 December 2010 by Erica Duncan   (USA)

Customer Rating :  1/5

1 Star Rating   

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I'm surprised that it considers itself an international airport with the cramped space and inefficient methods for getting people to their gates. The United Airlines line for international flights was unreasonably long, and United employees didn't seem to know which passengers should be given priority based on their flight times. People in line were literally begging them to let them go through. Getting through security was no better. The lines weren't that long, but security folks were moving incredibly slow. There were also little inefficient things I noticed that caused the process to take a lot longer than it should have (ie. the crates to put your stuff in weren't directly next to the table). Despite arriving 2 hours before my scheduled flight I still almost missed my plane. If there's a next time, I'd arrive 3 hours ahead of time.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review :  6 September 2010 by G Meyers   (USA)

Customer Rating :  2/5

2 Star Rating   

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My least favorite of the three DC area airports. Fly from Reagan National instead, even if it means forgoing a nonstop flight. Amazingly, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on improvements at Dulles in recent years, it now takes longer to get through the airport than before, and the amenities are just as bad. Although the much ballyhooed "AirTrain" recently opened, which should have sped travel times from the main terminal to the satellite terminals, amazingly, it takes even longer than the mobile lounges (aka Star Wars mobiles) of old. Fortunately, the Star Wars Mobiles are still plugging along. Use them instead, and save yourself 15 minutes.The security lines are the worst I've ever routinely encountered at any major airport. Allow at least 45 minutes to get through. There seem to be enough security lanes, but rarely are enough of them open. Amenities (restaurants, shops, etc.) I can't speak for the entire airport, but they are wholly lacking in the United Airlines concourse (and since United moves well over half the traffic at Dulles, you'll probably be flying United). You'll find long lines and limited choices. Terminal design, I'm speaking for United's facilities, but you may have to walk (yes, walk--there are no moving sidewalks) over 1/4 mile between your gate and the AirTrain or mobile lounge station. Allow at least 10 minutes for this. Dulles is to be avoided if you value your time. If you are parking in the economy lot, plan to arrive there 2 1/2 hours before flight time in order to ensure you can reach your departure gate with time to spare. On the way home, don't expect to make the trip from your arrival gate to arrival/pick-up in anything less than 45 minutes (assuming you haven't checked luggage).


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review :  23 August 2010 by J Wallis   (UK)

Customer Rating :  2/5

2 Star Rating   

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Quite the worst airport to arrive at that I've ever been to. It took 2 hours to clear Passport Control. No explanation for the delay, much less any apology.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review :  1 August 2010 by D Sun   (USA)

Customer Rating :  2/5

2 Star Rating   

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Transfering to Europe through Dulles on United Airlines is not a pleasant experience. United had about a dozen Europe-bound flights leaving within minutes of each other from adjoining gates. The place was absolute pandemonium, no where to sit, stand, or walk. Food and shopping options are severely limited and impossible to get to with all the crowds. Perhaps other areas of the airport, at different times, are more pleasant. This place badly needs a new or expanded terminal.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review :  4 May 2010 by J Hill   (UK)

Customer Rating :  2/5

2 Star Rating   

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Travelled with group of 33 school students as a leader. Security very aggressive with absolutely no explanation of why I was separated and aggressively searched. Possessions returned to hand luggage by officer damaged since items were caught up in a zip which he forced closed. I was referred to as 'she' and' put her in the cage.' I have travelled extensively and have no criminal record whatsoever!


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review :  7 April 2010 by Joy Jung   (USA)

Customer Rating :  1/5

1 Star Rating   

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Queuing at the immigration was very uncomfortable. I had to go through "B" section since I was traveling with my AP, and service there was unbearably poor and unreasonable with arrogant attitude. Security process was redundant for the transfer. Even though I had been in the "secured" area from other flight, I still had to go through another security and some of the product purchased in the air plane and duty free from other airport were denied so I had to check another bag forcefully. That bag was not showing up on the system when we checked at the airline gate, and finally got lost. I will avoid this airport for the transfer from any international travels.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review :  5 March 2010 by S Cookson   (UK)

Customer Rating :  5/5

5 Star Rating   

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A 60s throw back at check in but speedy rail transit to spacious new departure gate areas with plenty of space, light and amenities - although no baby changing tables in the restrooms which would have been welcome for our 11 month old. Immigration had no queue and taxi into Arlington was $60 with tip. There's an unusual bus transfer from the gates to immigration but overall a really good experience - so much nicer entering the US here than other airports we've been to.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review :  23 January 2010 by G Jardin   (UK)

Customer Rating :  3/5

3 Star Rating   

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Such a contrast between arriving at Dulles and departing from it. Arrival was as horrid an experience as I have encountered in the US. After my plane landed about 2 hours late, I found myself at the end of a long snaking queue for immigration. As a non-US citizen, it took me almost an hour to reach an agentā€™s desk. Ahead of me was an elderly man about 80 far too polite to ask to go to the front of the queue who was clearly in some distress. After I got through immigration, I waited for half an hour for my bag to reach the designated carousel. On a trip to the restroom, I found my bag with others piled up on the floor. The carousel screen was wrong and all the bags from my flight had been delivered. To my surprise, my return trip from Dulles went just fine. Security was quick and then I was able to take the moving walkways to the brand new B concourse, as good an airside space as Iā€™ve seen anywhere. Very spacious (10-15 minutes walk from end to end) and plenty of shops and eating places.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review :  19 January 2010 by J Tydeman   (UK)

Customer Rating :  2/5

2 Star Rating   

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Flew through Dulles to get to Sao Paulo on 7 January and back on 16/17 January. As with all US airports I have used, I feel they must scour the country for the most charmless people they can find and employ them all here. It always makes for a depressing, if not downright stressful and unpleasant experience. My case arrived off the carousel broken and searched, with various unwrapped presents. A similar experience on return. This airport needs a makeover - it doesn't look much nicer inside than a prison, with comparatively few retail outlets as well.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review :  11 January 2010 by F Dellera   (Italy)

Customer Rating :  2/5

2 Star Rating   

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Breezed through immigration and passport control, staff polite. Internal transportation a nightmare, a single car of a people mover expected to accomodate an entire aircraft? That's just not going to work. Baggage claim looked worse than many former Soviet countries, public transportation to the city was sketchy and the lack of a decent information desk took its toll. Food facilities completely inadequate.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 8 January 2010 by Rich Jenkins

Customer Rating : 2/5

2 Star Rating

IAD tends to be a miserable experience, but it provides almost all the international options in the DC area and it should get better. Immigration/customs formalities are relatively efficient, although it's still necessary to use the people mover (often crowded) to reach the immigration area. The ambiance and dining/shopping options vary by concourse. The United commuter concourse is the worst. The main C/D concourse (used by United for mailine flights) has gotten better over time. Departure security has gotten more efficient and there is now a second security area on the lower level near baggage claim, along with the new security mezzanine. I recommend the lower level location as it is still lightly used. The new train system will connect to the smaller infield terminals before opening to the C/D. The opening of the train has been delayed, but should occur early this year. Getting to the airport remains a hassle - the 5A bus to Rosslyn and L'Enfant Metro stations remains the cheapest option but is poorly promoted, although information can be found on the DC Metro website. The buses to West Falls Church are the next best option; there used to be service to DC but it was not used enough to be profitable. Staying near Dulles means being carbound and having limited dining options. Service within the airport tends toward the indifferent. Allowing 2 hours before a flight will work outside of rush periods, but 3 hours is more realistic during the usual business travel rush.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 7 January 2010 by N Kobayashi

Customer Rating : 1/5

1 Star Rating

I was connecting from Narita (Japan) to Connecticut, and since Dulles was my first US stop, I had to go through immigration. Originally, I landed at 2:15 and my flight was at 4:20, so I thought this would have been enough time to get through immigration, recheck my bags and board my next flight. After spending 3 hours in the immigration line, I sprinted to my gate only to find that my flight had already departed. Then came the long, lousy customer service line, where all the other who missed their flight because of the shocking immigration slowness were lined up to rebook their flight. Then, I get to the front of the line only to find that the next flight is all booked and I am standby #5. Then, to spend the night in the dreary, old, boring airport to board the earliest flight out to Connecticut the next morning at 8:30, and missing the first day back to school after winter break in the process. Terrible service, and they really should work on that ghastly immigration line.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 7 January 2010 by A Lamont

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

I actually rather enjoy flying through Dulles. I've never had any problems there and it's comfortable enough. I can understand that it may be a little confusing for some people who do not travel through large airports very often but I find it simple enough. I have only connected when flying on United so I cannot comment on the majority of airlines service at IAD.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 8 December 2009 by Alan Wan

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

I have used IAD a few times but never arrived on an international flight until last a week ago. We arrived in terminal C on a UA flight from LHR I believe the international arrivals facility is new and it did not require the mobile lounges. Maybe it was because it was early (10:30am) and there was only one flight being processed but I was very impressed from coming off the plane we were through immigration within 10 minutes and our bags were waiting and we were through customs and had the bags rechecked for our connection within another 2-3 minutes. I must say all the TSA staff were very friendly. The facilities are rather limited and with a +2 hour wait for our connection it was tempting to eat junk food out of boredom


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 23 November 2009 by D Jeffery

Customer Rating : 1/5

1 Star Rating

Arrived on Austrian from VIE Saturday afternoon in October. The mobile people mover was very crowded and slow. Three different hurdles to jump; customs, baggage retrieval and another entrance through security. TSA personnel were absolutely the rudest, most impatient and unhelpful I've encountered in the years since TSA was born. An elderly foreign woman was castigated in front of everyone for daring to have a small (one ounce) bottle of hand sanitizer in her purse. The TSA people yelled instructions which were difficult to interpret in the crowded conditions and generally made my wife and me embarassed for our country which used to have a reputation for welcoming visitors and citizens. There's no excuse for this mess which represents entry into our capitol city. I've traveled six continents and never seen worse. At both LAX and IAD, the reception of air travelers to our country is in need of drastic overhaul.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 22 July 2009 : by D Martin

Customer Rating : 1/5

1 Star Rating

I arrived at IAD on a Wednesday afternoon from Geneva. I had a connecting flights 2.20 hours later to JFK. It took me 2 hours to go through immigration, I almost missed my connection. I was lucky that the gate for the flight to JFK was not far away. Otherwise I would have missed my flight. I will try to avoid IAD for my next flights to the US because I will always be afraid of missing my next flight. EWR or ATL are far better for the immigration process.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 27 May 2009 : by M Steinfeld

Customer Rating : 3/5

3 Star Rating

Dulles seems to be an airport in transition at the moment. There are construction projects all over the place, but I'm confident that "new" Dulles will get things right. Once the new AeroTrain opens later this year, things will improve greatly (mobile lounges - which we all hate - will not be used much for one!), and then passengers will be able to enjoy a brand-new, spacious security and transit mezzanine in the Main Terminal. It will take a while before the permanent Terminal C/D is built (keep in mind that the current building is temporary, and has been that way for over 20 years now), so unfortunately, everyone traveling on United (all mainline flights + some Express flights), Air Canada, or Ethiopian will have to live with outdated facilities for now. Also, it will take some time before the new International Arrivals facilities are finished. If you're arriving on a Star Alliance carrier (and are connecting to another flight), you'll be able to experience the newly-remodeled FIS. For everyone else, sorry, but you'll have to wait for the brand-new International Arrivals Building. Many people don't understand about the international arrivals process, and often complain about it (see many of the comments below). Know that the process is not regulated by Dulles, but rather Customs and Border Protection. Everyone must clear Passport Control. The US government says that you need to be cleared through passport control, you must claim your bags before continuing on, and you have to be screened at a TSA security checkpoint. It's just policy. I do agree that Dulles isn't the most efficient airport in the world - there are plenty of issues there. It sometimes takes forever for non-U.S. citizens to clear Customs, it sometimes is a breeze. It all depends on how many officers are working when your flight arrives, how many people are in front of you in line, if there are any extraneous issues the airline/ airport must deal with, etc. Until the facilities are improved, the most you can do is schedule a longer layover at Dulles (i.e. more than 2 hours for an international connection; domestic connections aren't bad).


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 27 April 2009 : by D Halton

Customer Rating : 2/5

2 Star Rating

I have given Dulles airport a poor rating - this isn't for the airport as such however, but rather for the service at immigration. I have visited Washington twice in the last 2 months - once in February and again in April. I was on the flight from South Africa - a long 17.5 hour flight, which includes a 1 hour transit stop in Dakar, Senegal. As I don't have an American passport I joined the queue for non-USA passports with other passengers, who also had non-USA passports. We were then basically ignored by the officials/supervisors who tell you which queue you may go to. I admit our flight arrives early in the morning, so it would appear there are not many immigration officers on duty at that time. I do not however think it is acceptable to take the 1 Immigration Officer appointed to deal with non-USA passport holders to assist USA passport holders - when there are already 3 officers helping them. I was 4th from the front in the queue and it took 55 minutes to see an Immigration Officer.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 26 March 2009 : by K Compagnie

Customer Rating : 1/5

1 Star Rating

We had a little over 2 hours to catch our connecting flight in Washington. I asked United if those 2 hours where enough for immigration etc. According to them, of course it was, otherwise they wouldn't offer this itinerary. We arrived around 2.45pm and our flight to catch was around 5pm. It took us almost two hours to get through immigration (we were told by a very unfriendly immigration officer that we were lucky that we had to wait only 2 hours) Then we had to recheck our bags, go through security again, although there is no chance to get out of the airport at that point. And then we have to run all across the terminal for our flight. We arrived at the exact minute the plane should take off - but we were '"lucky": Our plane was announced to be 3 hours late. It gave us time to wander around at the airport. They should call this airport Washington Dull. It's extremely old and worn out, especially for an airport in a city like this. There were no movable walkways etc. Normally I like hanging out at airports, but this one I really hated. In the future, I will avoid this one!


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 19 February 2009 : by Claus Nielsen

Customer Rating : 2/5

2 Star Rating

For serving such a big and important area of the world, IAD is below my expectations. First, it's quite small, so there's not much to do there if you arrive early. On the other hand, it does not seem have the benefits small airports normally have - fast and friendly service, short distance from rental/parking over check-in/security to gate/flight. Rather the opposite. Rental car companies are situated miles away, and you have to get on a slow bus to get there and back. Arriving at check-in a bit early, there are no self-check-in counters and you just patiently have to wait until they decide to open the counter. Waiting there, there's nothing to do, no lounge or anything, just a sorry bar. On the good side, check-in and security was very fast, much to my surprise. From the check-in counter opened and till I was in the departure hall, no more than 10 minutes passed. Being in there was a bit sad. The architecture is dull and the shopping/restaurant options are limited. Smokers have to go into a white- walled crammed cell with poor lighting and insufficient ventilation, strange way to treat passengers.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 25 January 2009 : by G Jardin

Customer Rating : 0/5

0 Star Rating

Immigration and baggage reclaim were up to Zurich standards of speed. Although there is no direct access to the Washington Metro, the coach to West Falls Church station was quick and comfortable. Coming back, security was a doddle. So I found the basics just fine at IAD. The airport could do with internal modernisation and redecoration as it seems stuck in the 70s. Also, if you go through security and expect to see a departure lounge you're going to be disappointed. You need to take the moon buggy to your departure pier where there is a proper range of shops. However, if you need to eat a meal before travelling, better eat elsewhere as the food options seem limited to fast food, certainly not what I would want just before a long haul flight.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 21 January 2009 : by S Meier

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

I fly through to and from Europe every month and have only once had any problem. Could the facilities be more elegant? Perhaps, but the fact is that most people want to get in and out as quickly as possible and, in my opinion, IAD meets that challenge, especially given the newly renovated customs halls. Last Wednesday I landed at 15.05; I got on the mobile lounge, quickly moved through customs, collected my bags, picked up my rental car and was at my hotel by 16.30. Flying back out the next day, I was through check-in and TSA and at my gate in less than thirty minutes. One simply cannot complain about that. These are not one-off experiences, but rather the norm. Even at Thanksgiving and Christmas, I found the experience of transiting IAD to be quick and painless. I have found staffing to be adequate to meet most needs, but occasionally issues arise that create challenges and, to their credit, the ground staff try to do their best and usually do so with good humor (there are, of course, the occasional grouches, but they are to be found everywhere). In sum, this airport gets more stick than it deserves.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 19 January 2009 : by R Pieters

Customer Rating : 1/5

1 Star Rating

Dulles remains an awful place to arrive at from the dated bus/mobile lounge transporting you from aircraft to the arrivals lounge which is dreary dingy, dull and more third world. From disembarking to clearing customs from my United flight took over 2 hours. No toilet facilities until past immigration, these are inadequate. Connection to DC remains poor, no direct link to the metro. Returning via departures can be deceiving being fooled by the impressive main terminal which fine and artistic at one time, now to overcrowded and needs expansion to cope with the passenger volumes. Until the over-deferred rail link links between departure /arrivall concourse with the main building is complete. Dulles remains an awful place and nowhere up to the standard of LHR. Baltimore Washington or Reagan National are better choices.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 1 December 2008 : by L Day

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

Overall, Dulles seemed a pleasant enough airport to spend several hours waiting for connecting flights. The worst experience at Dulles was waiting in the overcrowded terminal for a connecting flight to Syracuse. There were too many flights leaving at similar times, such that the seats were completely full, with people standing and sitting on the floor, crowding the walkways. Meanwhile, many of the flights must have been overbooked, as the desk people were frequently asking for people to offer to take later flights. The environment was so noisy and crowded that I ended up waiting in another terminal, waiting until just before my flight's departure to head back to the area.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 21 November 2008 : by Thomas Fuchs

Customer Rating : 1/5

1 Star Rating

The worst of the worst. When arriving internationally from Vienna, first you're greeted by a long walk to the "mobile lounges" and their unfriendly and rude operators, next off to the impossibly drab and super-slow immigration, not to mention the weirdo baggage reclaim, which seems like from a bad movie. We had to catch a connecting flight and scheduled 3 hours for it. Plan to have at least 5 hours time. It's so ridiculous, I can't even describe it. Here in Vienna, a busy international airport with tons of connections to eastern europe, the process of immigration (for non-Austrians, or non-EU citizens), baggage claim and customs, and hopping in a cab takes about 15 minutes. Avoid Dulles at all costs.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT customer review : 13 November 2008 : by Bill Holmes

Customer Rating : 3/5

3 Star Rating

I've flown through IAD hundreds of times. The best you can say about the airport is that it is "in transition" (interminably). We're stuck with the "mobile lounges" until the train system is completed at some point in 2009. Immigration and customs facilities will probably remain inadequate, although relocating transfer facilities to the midfield terminal will probably improve matters. Restaurants, seating and other passenger amenities will probably remain inadequate until the "temporary" (for the last 20 years) Concourses C and D are replaced by a permanent building. There are some improvements: 1) Most airlines allow online check-in and/or use kiosks at IAD. These can greatly reduce waiting time for check-in, and lines are much shorter since these facilities became available. 2) Security facilities have been improved. Look for them not just on the main level, but also on the lower level. The lower level security facilities are available for "expert" travelers (travelers who have no children or special needs passengers in tow and who are familiar with the routine) and for those travelers who participate in the Clear Channel pre- screening program. There are some better restaurants and cafes available. Most notable is probably Vino Volo, a wine bar and cafe, located adjacent to Gate C3. One trick to use if you are transferring between Concourse B and either Concourses C or D is the mobile lounge connector that goes from Concoure A to C. Rather than going to the main terminal, walk to the connector to Concourse A and pick up the mobile lounge to Concourse C. Lounges run every five minutes and the transfer takes only a couple of minutes once underway. There's a certain irony about all the walking at Dulles. When the airport was built, the concept behind mobile lounges was that passengers should not have to walk long distances to their planes. The longest walk a passenger could expect was 400 feet from entrance into the terminal to the lounge dock. That was fine in the days when 24 gates could serve the entire airport, but woefully inadequate for mass transit. Now, a passenger parking at Garage 1 and embarking from Concourse B can expect to walk at least half a mile from car to plane. Dulles does have some redeeming values. One is that its huge operations area for planes means that ground traffic delays are seldom extensive. Another is that as bad as things may have been, they are improving and likely to improve further.




 

 
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