Washington, D.C./Virginia, United States
Airport #24 of 100 · First visited 4 October 2010
Dulles occupies an awkward place for me. With most of my flights originating in Dayton, Washington’s not a bad location for a hub; with my highest airline status on United, it connects the right airline for me. Yet for the most part, I seem to spend a lot of time going out of my way to avoid it.
At first, it was simply a matter of airline; when I first needed to start visiting Northern Virginia in 2010, my airline status was with American. My job’s contracted rate for DAY–IAD was rather high, so unless I was pressed for time, I much preferred to take the cheaper-than-the-airfare mileage reimbursement and drive a few hundred miles than to fly on an airline I didn’t prefer into an airport I didn’t particularly care for.
In 2012, I started needing to travel to Charleston, South Carolina frequently, and our contracted airline for the Dayton–Charleston city pair was United. I gave in and switched to using United on routes where I had a choice, and Dulles was the most direct United hub between Dayton and Charleston. Yet, as often as not, I ended up booking flights through Chicago O’Hare instead. Though in both cases I was exclusively flying regional jets for both segments, at Dulles, I was guaranteed to have to use the A concourse and walk outside to my jet; at least at O’Hare, I had a reasonable chance of a jet bridge.
With the possible exception of the mobile lounges, Dulles has always felt like a really bland airport to me. The shops, restaurants, and concourse interiors are nothing special. The main terminal is unique, but when most of my flights through there involve a short connection where I may not even leave the A concourse, I hardly even get to see it. It’s a perfectly functional layover airport, but I just don’t really care for it.