Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is located roughly three miles from the downtown area of Washington, DC. The airport is one of the busiest airports in the United States. The operation of the airport is handled by Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Although Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is one of the busiest airports in the country, it is not the busiest airport in the Washington, DC area. Dulles International Airport is the busier of the two major airports in the DC area because it handles most of the international flights. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is used almost exclusively for domestic traffic in the United States.
Even though it is the less busy of the two major DC area airports, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport still gets an incredible amount of air traffic. Over 18 million passengers make their way through the airport every year, almost all of them domestic air travelers. The only international air traffic that is allowed at Ronald Reagan is private and corporate jet traffic. All commercial international traffic is forced to go through Dulles International Airport.
History of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Hoover Field was the first major airport in the Washington, DC region. It was a small airport that had a single runway. Hoover Field opened in 1926, and in 1930 it became Washington-Hoover Airport. This small airport did a very poor job of handling all the air traffic in the area, but a Congressional ban on the development of airports kept the situation from changing for many years.
In 1938, the ban was lifted. President Franklin D. Roosevelt immediately appropriated $15 million for the construction of Washington National Airport. The construction of the airport began in 1940. Construction was completed by the following year. Washington National Airport opened its doors to the public on June 16, 1941.
Washington National Airport changed very little for several decades after its opening in 1941. It was not until the 1990s that the airport’s buildings received a much needed overhaul. Two new terminals were built to handle the increased air traffic that Washington National Airport had added over the years. There are now three terminals in use at the airport. They are Terminal A, Terminal B and Terminal C.
On February 6, 1998, President Bill Clinton signed legislation into law that changed the name of Washington National Airport into its current form, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. This was done to honor the former president on his 87th birthday.
Parking at the Airport
There are numerous parking options for visitors to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. There is an hourly parking area that is for passengers that will be at the airport for a duration of less than two hours. A little farther away from the terminals there are daily parking lots that offer a more economical rate for passengers that will be staying for more than a couple hours. There are also economy parking lots available for passengers who will be leaving their cars parked for long stays. All these lots offer free shuttles to all three main terminals of the airport.
An interesting bit of trivia about Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is that it is located on the former site of one of the most prominent plantations of the Old South. The Abington Plantation was owned by four of the most prominent, powerful Virginia families of the colonial era: the Custis, Stuart, Hunter and Alexander families.
Artifacts from the Abington Plantation are on display in Terminal A for visitors to enjoy. Two of the plantation buildings are preserved in a spot that is between Parking Garage A and Parking Garage B/C.
Airlines Serving Reagan National Airport
At National, there is a federal limit on how many routes the small airport can handle and on how far those routes can fly. International destinations are limited to Canada, Nassau, and Bermuda. Although it is not a hub, National is considered a focus point for US Airways. Combined with Delta, American, and United, these airlines offer travel to more than nine million business and tourist travelers every year.
US Airways serves more than 3.85 million passengers annually. Its busiest route is the Boston Shuttle with 15 roundtrips daily. The popular New York route offers 16 direct flights daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Ten direct flights connect with Charlotte, US Airways hub. New Orleans is another popular destination with five direct flights daily offered by partner Republic Airlines. US Air also offers three daily flights to Phoenix and one to San Diego. US Airways uses Terminal B, Pier 2, and Terminal C.
United Airlines and its partners serve some 1.56 million travelers every year. United has secured four long distance slots, and it currently uses them for its daily round trips to Denver and San Francisco. The Cleveland and Houston routes are popular due, in part, to transfers. United partner Express Jet operates as the United Shuttle with six regular flights to Newark. Be forewarned that afternoon flights are more likely to run late than the early morning ones.
Delta Airlines serves more than 2.5 million. Many use the airlines flights to Atlanta and catch a connecting flight to their final destination. The Delta Shuttle, which uses Terminal B, offers 15 direct flights to NYC-LaGuardia daily. Delta offers two direct flights to Salt Lake City as well. The Delta Connection partners include Compass Airlines, Express Jet, Pinnacle Airlines, and SkyWest. American Airlines is busy with more than 2.3 million customers. With the only direct flight to Los Angeles, the Delta flight fills up quickly. American and partner American Eagle fly more than five times daily to major destinations/transfer points Chicago and Dallas.
JetBlue is one of the economy carriers at Reagan National. It offers travel to about 788,000 passengers, and much of it is vacation travel. Florida destinations include Orlando theme parks and the beaches of Tampa and Fort Lauderdale. JetBlue recently received one of the coveted long distance slots and now offers a daily flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico.