The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is gearing up a busy holiday travel season between Thanksgiving and the New Year at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, with passenger traffic approaching pre-pandemic levels not seen since 2019.

As Thanksgiving approaches, the Airports Authority expects to see heavier traffic and passenger volumes traveling through its two National Capital Region airports from November 19 through November 29 – especially on peak travel days leading up to and immediately following the November 25 holiday.

Significantly higher congestion is expected on airport roadways, inside the terminals and, especially, at the airport, in airport parking facilities. In addition, passengers arriving or departing from the airport will find new passenger pathways, which will take them through one of two newly opened security checkpoints into much larger post-security space and, depending on their gate, into the new 14-gate concourse that replaced Gate 35X and its bus rides to outdoor boarding areas.

To ensure a faster, more enjoyable and less stressful experience when coming to this holiday season, keep these tips in mind:

Make a parking reservation in advance

Holiday parking will be in high demand. It is essential that passengers planning to park at the Airport make a reservation in advance to guarantee space. Customers with an advanced reservation will be reserved a space. With passenger loads increasing, and more customers electing to park their own vehicles at the airport, the airport’s parking facilities have been filling up in recent weeks – including the economy lot.

Customers can reserve parking no later than 12 hours prior to their trip: Reserve Now

Use Metrorail

Escape traffic congestion altogether when traveling through the airport by riding Metro to the airport. Pro tip: pick up or drop off a loved one at the Crystal City or Braddock Road stations to avoid driving to the airport.

Know where to go

Holiday travelers at the airport will find a new path inside the airport, as the airport’s two new consolidated security checkpoints opened on November 9. Customers should follow in-airport signage and give themselves extra time to navigate the changes and take advantage of an additional 100,000 square feet of post-security space, with expanded access to shopping and dining options. Customers can visit the Project Journey webpage to learn more.

Fly healthy and safe

By federal mandate, face masks are still always required inside the airport and on-board the aircraft when not actively eating and drinking. Let an airline representative or agent at the security checkpoint know if you need a complimentary mask.

Arrive at least two hours early for domestic, three hours early for international flights

To accommodate potential traffic congestion on airport roadways or long lines in the terminal and avoid missing flights, plan to arrive inside the terminal early – at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international departures.

We wish all those traveling through our airport a safe journey and happy holidays. 


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