Washington Dulles Airport

Customer Reviews

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Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Queuing Times 12345
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3/10
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7/10

"things have much improved"

(United States)

Verified Review | Washington Dulles has a long history of problems owing mainly to ongoing construction and an ill-conceived layout that is hostage to the airport's status as an architectural icon. Things have much improved. Flying domestic first class on United gives us privileges not available to all, but even economy check-in was efficient and free of lines at the time we checked-in (admittedly, not at rush hour). TSA Pre-check is efficient, especially for members of Clear; all Washington-area airports have Clear available. Trains to the concourses are frequent and efficient. One serious drawback is the long slog from the Concourse C AeroTrain station and the actual terminal because the train station is where the anticipated permanent concourse will be - some day. There is no train service to Concourse D, leaving passengers to go by the original mobile lounge system the operates reasonably well. Concourse C/D is a "temporary" concourse constructed in the 1980s and not really suitable for the large passenger volume it must handle. Nevertheless, passenger amenities have improved considerably of late, with the addition of several higher-quality full-service restaurants. Passenger amenities in Concourse A/B are much better. Boarding at C/D is cramped, although well-organized by United. As far as field operations are concerned, Dulles is among the country's better airports, with a runway structure and field size that seldom leads to delays. Walking distances on the concourses can be quite long.
Experience At AirportDeparture Only
Date VisitMay 2017
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
yes
7/10

"close to 10 pm almost everything was closed"

(United States)

Verified Review | Well I arrived to Washington Dulles airport at 8:45pm April 30th and I was hungry and I need it a place to charge my phone. I was walking in Gate A and B. Gate B had a lot of stores and restaurants but I noticed that most restaurants and stores are about to close. I rushed to get some food at Wendy's and charged my phone. after 30 minutes they kicked me out. Anyway close to 10 pm almost everything was closed. My next flight at 6:30 am. So I finish my sandwich and charged my phone and found place that will be comfortable. This airport at night is basically nothing. Pros - not a lot pf people, free and good WiFi, clean, staff are friendly and a lot of places to charge your phone. Cons - not a lot of food choices (compared JFK, LA, Miami, Atlanta airports) and is very dead at night. Nothing to do. No shopping, no bars.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitMay 2017
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
5/10

"Satisfactory airport"

(United States)

Verified Review | Transferred on United. Satisfactory airport. Complete with smoking areas, and many boarding gates. Few seating areas, especially if traveling on large, long-range flights. Terminal was very long, beware, especially if transferring from D to C gates. Wide range to food places available.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitFebruary 2017
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
yes
7/10

"have had mixed experiences with Dulles"

(Austria)

I have had mixed experiences with Dulles. Some times, international arrival was pleasant with no lines at immigration. This time, more than one hour wait at immigration due to small number of officers. Immigration officer was very friendly. After immigration, additional 40 min wait in the queue to get a taxi. A few days later, domestic departure was fine. Check-in in less than 5 mins, no wait at security on a late Saturday morning. Plenty of seats at gate and free wifi worked fine. C/D concourses had adequate food options. Directions/signs inside the terminals are easy to understand.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitNovember 2016
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
yes
2/10

"terrible, stressful, time consuming"

(United States)

The capital of the US deserves a different airport operation for people arriving into this wonderful country. The facilities issues at Washington Dulles can't be fixed quickly but the staff training should be addressed ASAP. The arrival hall is too small for the number of people that need to be processed, the lines are long, the security staff have an attitude that has nothing to do with service and getting the job done, where is the positive psychology needed? They are unclear on what they need you to do, they tell you this is a metal detector and that you should have told someone that you have metal in your body, doing a pat down seems a big deal. There were no supervisors helping this very stressed group of not well trained staff. It's appalling. Please send your operations manager to Heathrow or any other airport to learn how it's done. Dulles needs to get it right as the gateway airport to the US capital. It took us 2.5 hours to get to our connecting flight. Terrible, stressful, time consuming experience, will avoid at all costs.
Experience At AirportArrival Only
Date VisitOctober 2016
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
1/10

"most inefficient, poorly run airport"

(United States)

Washington Dulles is the most inefficient, poorly run airport I have been to to date. I landed here after an international flight, and the customs line was a nightmare. Employees were incompetent, did not seem to care about the ridiculous lines that were forming, and did not know how to use the computer systems. It was the most hectic airport that I have been to, there was absolutely no rhyme or reason for anything being done. This not only was very frustrating but does not make me feel comfortable with the safety of this airport. I will be doing everything to avoid the Washington Dulles airport from this point on.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitSeptember 2016
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages N/A
Airport Staff 12345
no
6/10

"not great, but not bad either"

(United States)

Verified Review | As some other commenters have noted, Dulles was designed for a different model of operations than most subsequent airports, and the efforts to integrate the design of the airport with current practices can be very awkward. Dulles is a distinctive airport in many ways, so much so that it presents significantly different experiences, based on the particular type of flight you're on, as I'll elaborate on below. For the aspects of travel that are universal regardless of type of flight (check-in, security, parking, etc.), it's decent overall. The new(-ish) train is a big improvement on the old "mobile lounges" (which are still used to concourse D, though), I've had mostly pleasant and efficient experiences with check-in, and have even been pleasantly surprised by the speed at security on some occasions. For getting to the airport via car, you definitely need to be aware of traffic and plan travel times accordingly - I've had many painless experiences, but if it's around rush hour, beltway traffic can be ghastly (though the Dulles Access Road itself is usually fine). For domestic flights, Dulles has the best selection of non-stop long-haul flights of the 3 DC-area airports, and it's generally an acceptable experience, concourse A/B is a lot nicer than C/D, though. For myself, if it's a choice between a non-stop from Dulles or a flight with a connection from another airport, I'll take the non-stop from Dulles; if the choice of flight is otherwise equivalent, though, both BWI and DCA are more pleasant options. For departing international flights, the experience is essentially like that for domestic flights - not great, but not bad either. For arriving international flights with Dulles as the final destination, it's below average. The mobile lounges to get to immigration & customs are always inconvenient and almost invariably crowded. I've had both good and bad experiences with the speed of immigration and customs, but the wait for luggage is usually short (if immigration is slow, there might be no wait at all). Since Dulles has the vast majority of international flights of the DC-area airports, if DC is one's point of origin/destination, there usually isn't a choice about which airport to arrive at. For arriving international flights when DC is NOT the final destination, avoid Dulles at (almost) any cost. The slowness and inconvenience of the mobile lounges, unpredictable time for immigration/customs, and the possible need to then take another train/bus to get to the concourse for your connecting flight must be incredibly stressful. To summarize: Dulles is acceptable for domestic flights and international departures, below-average for international arrivals with Dulles as final destination, and to be avoided if at all possible for international arrivals with subsequent connections.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitJuly 2016
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
yes
1/10

"cumbersome painful to a nightmare"

(United States)

I moved to DC 3 years ago and have used Dulles more than a dozen times. The international operation is the worst I've ever seen in any civilized country. Coming into Dulles from abroad ranges from cumbersome painful to a nightmare. The whole thing is a hymn to inefficiency and unreasonable design: first people are stuck until saturation into the oddest transportation buses I'm aware of to transfer to another terminal. After many hours of traveling the packing and smell and everything is the least welcoming feeling possible. And one wonders if this is just by coincidence, as to GET to the terminal there is a civilized underground train! That apparently only works in one direction! Then the customs! I've spent between 1 (at least) to more than 5 hours to go through customs. Having a H1B usually my interaction time with the TSA officer is about 10 minutes, so the rest is just standing in line. And after luggage collection, another control (for what?) that can take another 5-60 minutes. I never came out of Dulles with less than one and half hour after getting to the gate. Coming and going for 3 years I'm always hoping that this can only be temporary, there is no way the capital of the US can have such an inefficient, outdated and outright disorganized airport (yes, disorganized, the airport people knows how many flights are coming with how many people, why don't they get enough officers to get things working properly?). But nothing changes. Right now I'm waiting for my wife and our 4 month old kid. They landed 4 hours ago, and no one knows what in earth is happening inside. There is people around waiting for 3-4 hours as well. No official or voluntary personnel answers any question, and there are no instances or authorities to recur too. I travel through JFK, Newark, Boston, LAX, Baltimore, and nothing, but nothing, compares to this.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitAugust 2016
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
1/10

"mobile lounges obsolete, unwelcoming, inefficient"

(United States)

I'm fly internationally through Dulles almost every week and the thing that I truly, deeply hate is the "mobile lounge" system for international arrivals. I want some rational explanation of why this obsolete, unwelcoming and inefficient system was not modernized together with other updates to the airport some years ago. If there is a train to take passengers to the terminals, why isn't there a train to bring passengers from the terminals? Specific complaints about the mobile lounges - if they must exist, they should at least be designed to load passengers on a first-in, first-out basis. That way, the first people entering the vehicle wouldn't crowd around the entrance, blocking it for others. There should at least be different lounges for business and first-class passengers. Part of what business and first class passengers pay for is the privilege of being first off the plane and thus first into Immigration - the mobile lounges make this impossible. I often take a flight that arrives at Dulles past midnight, and I am often the first person off the plane. But the mobile lounge waits for the entire flight to be loaded, and then even waits for the crew. At that time of night, this delay is inexcusable. Many other airports have expedited lines or services for business and first class passengers, so why doesn't Dulles? If they must exist, they should at least be designed to accomodate the carry-ons everybody uses now - the aisles are absurdly narrow. If they must exist, there should at least be courteous, multilingual staff helping people navigate the absurdity instead of the barking drivers who simply yell "move back" when the inevitable blockage occurs - it's rude, unpleasant, gives a poor first impression of our country to foreign visitors, and is unintelligible to visitors who do not speak English.
Experience At AirportArrival Only
Date VisitAugust 2016
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages N/A
no
5/10

"airport is not consistent at all

(United States)

Departure was a smooth experience, as security was very quick as it wasn't a busy time. However, arrival wasn't as smooth, as ground staff gave us our baggage an hour after our arrival, leaving many, if not all, passengers on the flight worried about baggage, not to mention that it was the closest gate to the main terminal where the baggage claim is. When we asked the "information" person where our bags were, he had no clue, and when we asked him about what we could do, he still had no idea. Why? He was a "volunteer" and only knows about hotels. He said that the airline's counter was closed (which isn't surprising as it was midnight) so nobody knew what to do. Finally we got our bags. To put a person who knows nothing about the airlines or the airport shows high incompetence and it seems that they should at least create a seperate booth labeled "Hotel Information", let alone get staff that actually know how to deal with passengers' situations. Dulles isn't the best airport, but not the worst. It has it's ups and downs but the airport is not consistent at all.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitJuly 2016
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no