The Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is in neither Baltimore nor Washington, sitting in an open area south of Baltimore and a good 30 min drive from D.C. However, a bit of open space was necessary to accommodate the area's fastest growing airport. The number of passengers served annually is over 20 million, with AirTran and Southwest pulling down the majority of the travelers.
The airport holds the unique distinction of having been voted as one of the nation's healthiest airports by Health Magazine in 2008. In 2010, it will turn 60 years old. However, it has been frequently updated throughout its lifetime, including a recent renovation that combined its five concourses to four, making it easier to navigate the airport. The airport also consolidated its rental car area, offering a quick shuttle to the removed rental station which has all eight of the rental agencies under one roof.
Those looking to come to the greater D.C. area for a leisurely vacation are probably best served by flying into BWI, as the airport is commonly known. The smaller layout makes the airport easier to navigate for families and those with crowd or mobility challenges. Additionally, the presence of multiple low-cost carriers means that rates will be cheaper than a Reagan or Dulles flight in most cases. This is also true on the short-hop Caribbean flights offered by the airports. For those coming from Dulles or Reagan, transfers and shuttle services to and from the city are available.
Getting to downtown D.C. will be a bigger challenge than getting into Baltimore, especially if one is driving. However, the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport was the first airport to have a dedicated intercity rail connection, so travelers will want to take the train where possible. It connects with both Baltimore (10 min) and D.C. ( 35 min) systems through the Northeast Corridor connection.