Airlines Bring New Routes and Nonstop Service to Dulles and Reagan Airports

A look at the new flights available from the area’s principal airports, plus tips on finding more reasonable fares.
Reagan National Airport. Photograph by Carol Ross Joynt.
Reagan National Airport. Photograph by Carol Ross Joynt.

Summer travel season typically brings the threat of higher
airfares, and this summer is no different—but the good news for
Washington travelers is that the area’s two principal airports
are adding some new routes, especially nonstops out of Reagan
National to places as varied as Austin, San Francisco, San
Juan, and Portland, Oregon. Dulles has added a daily nonstop to
Honolulu, and two new carriers will provide daily service to
Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, answering our request, sent all kinds of updated information about new service
from DCA and IAD. Here’s how it breaks down:

Starting this summer from Reagan National: Southwest nonstop
to Austin (July 8); Virgin America to San Francisco (August 14);
JetBlue to San Juan (August 23); and Alaska Airlines to
Portland, Oregon (August 28). Also new to Reagan this summer: American
Airlines nonstop to Los Angeles International Airport, which
began this month, and US Airways flights to San Diego, Minneapolis,
Montreal, Toronto, Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Augusta,
Georgia, which all begin July 11. There’s new JetBlue service out
of DCA, too, which started this month. The airline added a new
flight to Tampa and additional flights to Boston, Fort Lauderdale,
and Orlando.

The news from Dulles includes Lufthansa adding a
bigger jumbo jet for its route to Frankfurt, a daily flight of the new
747-8
series, which seats 362 passengers. According to MWAA it is the
first aircraft of this type to enter commercial service. KLM
is adding three flights per week to Amsterdam (July to
September); Aeromexico started new daily service to Mexico City; and
United now has daily flights to Doha, Qatar, and Dublin.
Emirates is a new carrier to Dulles, and will offer daily service
to Dubai. Also new is Etihad Airways, with daily service to Abu
Dhabi.

We contacted a local travel agency, McCabe World Travel, to get a reality check about fares. Yes, they are soaring, and yes,
there are sensible ways to go about beating the higher fares.
Cristina Gifuni, McCabe’s international travel adviser, said fares “change by the second. We find they are really high lately. Go for advance
ticketing, and be flexible with the time of travel.”

Gifuni also made an argument familiar to seasoned
Washington travelers: fly from BWI. “You do see some cheaper fares from
Baltimore,” she said. Factoring in the costs of getting to and
from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
“may not be cost effective for one person traveling alone, but
if it’s a family they can find big savings,” says Gifuni, who
adds that many hotels in the Baltimore area offer “park and
fly” arrangements, which spare the traveler any airport parking
fees. Interestingly, of Southwest Airlines—long reputed to be
one of the best deals out of Baltimore—Gifuni says, “I don’t
find them to be that much cheaper anymore. They don’t charge
for baggage, but their airfares nowadays are comparable to the
other carriers.”

As for the new flights out of Dulles and Reagan,
Gifuni says new flights are typically good for the consumer beyond
simply
the convenience. “When there’s a new carrier in the market with
a reasonable price it will force the other carriers’ [prices]
to come down. It’s supply and demand.”

We leave you with this: There’s always a road trip. The national average for a gallon of gasoline is dropping, in some areas
by as much as 50 cents from two months ago.

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