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Dulles is so difficult to get to by car from where we live, that my husband told me I was NEVER to fly out of Dulles again. He got lost on the way HOME after dropping us off.
When he came to pick us up, he went to the Hourly lot directly in front of the Main Terminal and didn't use the free Cell Phone Waiting Area. The rate for the Hourly Lot is $4 per hour or fraction. He paid $8.00 when he picked us up as he got there at 2:15 pm. Although the plane was early, we still had to go through Customs and Immigration.
It takes a good length of time to get there - we have to go up to the Washington Beltway (I-495) which takes an hour at least, and get on going toward VA. Get off I-495 at exit 45A and the airport is over 13 miles from the exit 45A.
The Dulles Access Highway is restricted to airport use only. All vehicles on the Access Highway must be going to or coming from Dulles Airport on airport business. When approaching the airport, tune your radio to AM 530 to learn up-to-the-minute information on parking rates, locations and availability.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Phone: (703) 572-4500
As far as the terminal itself - Bob unloaded us at section 3, and we straggled inside with our bags. We checked in and got our boarding passes. A man, took our bags (didn't ask me to make a name label but this is a non-stop flight) and said mine was 21 kilos. I later asked Bob how many kilos to a pound and the said 2.4 which would be 50.4 pounds, but when I looked it up later 23 kilos was the maximum weight. That would be more like 2.2 kilos to the pound or 46 lbs plus.
The lady told us to sit on the seat by the window (which looks like an A/C vent) and she would send us a wheelchair (photo 4). Which she did. My carryon is also very heavy. After we stopped for my granddaughter to use the bathroom, we went through security, and the wheelchair guy got us onto the people mover (photo 3) and out to the gate - well in advance of the flight. I tipped him about $2.00. Dulles is unique in that instead of walking or taking a train to the concourse or plane, you ride either a Mobile Lounges or a Plane Mates. I understand that they are trying to figure out a way to get rid of the mobile lounges, which are getting old and sometimes don't work as specified.
There were several people with small children including a pregnant lady traveling by herself with a small child. One of the children spent a lot of time shrieking. My granddaughter bought a soft pretzel and blue ice. We boarded with the group of people needing assistance.
As usual in June, the flight was delayed by lightening storms from 5:15 to about 8:45. We sat on the taxi-way with the engines off for most of that time (photo 2)
On the way back (photo 5), we went through immigration, found our bags (granddaughter pushed the luggage cart), and went through customs (I had made out the customs form for both of us assuming we were family, although my granddaughter was somewhat obstructive about telling me what she spent - it wasn't as if I cared personally really - I just wanted to know how to fill out the form.)
Updated Apr 4, 2011
The way most people get to Dulles is to drive their own car. But there are six other ways to get there.
1) Public Transportation
A) Metrorail - Any Orange line train headed towards "Vienna/Fairfax/GMU." Exit the train at the West Falls Church station, and follow the signs directing you to the Washington Flyer bus stop. Tickets can be purchased on the bus from the driver. All Washington Flyer buses departing this location go directly to the front door of the Main Terminal at Dulles Airport. The Washington Flyer is $9.00 one way
B) Metrobus - Route 5A between Dulles and Washington, DC
Metrobus operates an express bus service between Dulles Airport and Washington, DC (L'Enfant Plaza)
2) Supershuttle Van (door to door)
3) Washington Flyer Taxi
4) VRTA Bus from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center which is next to the airport (50 cents per person)
5) Rental car. The difference between a rental car and your own car is that you don't have to pay for parking at the airport while you are gone.
Directions for Driving (the same if it is a rental or your own car):
From Downtown Washington DC:
Go west on I-66 to exit 67. Follow signs to the airport, approximately 16 miles from exit 67.
Go south on I-95 to exit 27 (I 495 West - "The Beltway") to exit 45A. Follow signs to the airport, approximately 13 miles from exit 45A.
Go north on I-95 to exit 170 (I 495 - "The Beltway") to exit 45. Follow signs to the airport, approximately 13 miles from exit 45.
Updated Apr 4, 2011