5 Hacks for Upgrading Your Trip Out of DC Airports

1. Sleep near Dulles and bypass the parking-lot charges. Hotels nearby offer up to two weeks free if you stay one night. Check for the best deals.

2. Turn the parking valet at Dulles into your personal valet. Your driver will wash and detail your car while you’re gone and pick you up curbside when you return, preheating or cooling the car to your desired temperature. He or she will also take care of your dry-cleaning.

3. Get Clear. It’s more exclusive than TSA PreCheck and is available at 16 US airports, three of which are ours. The $179 annual fee lets you skip the TSA line by going through a separate, members-only queue that has a fingerprint or iris scanner.

4. Don’t be a punk about security. At Dulles, there are estimated-wait signs in front of the entrance to the East and West security gates. At BWI, any line gives you access to A, B, or C Concourse.

5. Delta Diamond Medallion is one upper-crust status that does have cachet. Members can make same-day changes between our three airports. So you can book a cheaper flight out of BWI or Dulles, then switch to a more convenient Reagan departure the day of.


This article appears in the November 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.

Staff Writer

Michael J. Gaynor has written about fake Navy SEALs, a town without cell phones, his Russian spy landlord, and many more weird and fascinating stories for the Washingtonian. He lives in DC, where his landlord is no longer a Russian spy.