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Old 07-14-2014, 12:19 PM
 
39 posts, read 138,911 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkf747 View Post
I believe it's only for transfer passengers. If the destination is Dulles you have to ride on the moon buggy. I'd hate to go to the midfield Customs while you're bags are over at the main terminal.
if you go through the midfield immigration and customs at the midfield terminal, and if DC is your final destination, how could you claim your bags? seems the midfield option only works if you have no checked-in luggage.
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Old 07-14-2014, 03:32 PM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,739 posts, read 8,950,593 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkf747 View Post
That's right. DCA, IAD, and BWI are all considered Washington area airports.
Well, in theory, perhaps--but I know I'm not the only one on this side of the river who makes it a firm policy never to fly out of BWI. (BTW, does anyone else call it "Bee-Wee"?) One time we did fly out from BWI and got stuck there, because the trains had stopped running. We had to share a cab home with strangers.

I think they may have fixed that problem, but the chance for an epic clusterforkian cataclysm on the B-W Parkway are just too high. (It once took us 1.5 hours to get home from visiting friends in University Park--and that's miles closer than BWI.)

There's a reason flights to/from there are always cheaper than at IAD or DCA.

That said, IAD is a true regional airport, because so many international flights start or end there. Not so for BWI.
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Old 07-14-2014, 05:29 PM
 
7,933 posts, read 9,659,084 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
Well, in theory, perhaps--but I know I'm not the only one on this side of the river who makes it a firm policy never to fly out of BWI. (BTW, does anyone else call it "Bee-Wee"?) One time we did fly out from BWI and got stuck there, because the trains had stopped running. We had to share a cab home with strangers.

I think they may have fixed that problem, but the chance for an epic clusterforkian cataclysm on the B-W Parkway are just too high. (It once took us 1.5 hours to get home from visiting friends in University Park--and that's miles closer than BWI.)

There's a reason flights to/from there are always cheaper than at IAD or DCA.

That said, IAD is a true regional airport, because so many international flights start or end there. Not so for BWI.
Totally agree with you. I've flown out of BWI once in my life. Never doing it again. I don't give a rat's a** as to any potential cost savings. It isn't worth it.
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Metro Washington DC
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You'd be surprised how many Virginians us BWI. However, NoVA is not Washington. Washingtonians do use BWI. In some ways, it is easier to get to BWI from downtown that to Dulles. There are MARC and AMTRAK trains going straight there. Again though, they are building the Silver line to Dulles. There is an access road that makes the drive easy. Dulles is definitely Washington airport. It's even in the name.
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:26 PM
 
813 posts, read 1,106,602 times
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Back to the OP's question:

The following info comes from my wife, who has volunteered with Travelers Aid at Dulles for many years.

There is indeed an immigration and customs station at the midfield terminal, but two caveats: A) it is only open in the afternoon, and B) it is only for transfer passengers who are arriving from abroad and connecting to a domestic U.S. flight.

For anyone whose final destination is Dulles (and for connecting passengers who arrive any time other than the afternoon), immigration and customs is handled only in the main terminal.

2:00 PM to 5:00 PM is the absolute busiest time to go through immigration and customs, because a total of 18 international flights -- figure that's probably at least 4,000-5,000 passengers -- arrive within that three-hour window. Even during this window, however, it should not take longer than two hours to get through the formalities, unless you get pulled aside for a secondary inspection by any agency. Then all bets are off.

I also seem to recall reading in the Washington Post a while back that additional inspectors were in training to be added later this year to the staff at Dulles.
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:28 AM
 
Location: Great Falls, VA
771 posts, read 1,205,610 times
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I'm one of those Virginians who does use BWI occasionally even though I live so close to IAD. I often find that Southwest can get me to many destinations (especially on the West) at a much lower cost than flying out of Dulles, even with transportation costs included. And every single time I find myself saying "Never again"...until I'm lured in again by lower fares.
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Old 07-16-2014, 12:05 AM
 
8 posts, read 4,167 times
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Thanks everyone for all the *useful* replies.
Our flight lands around 6pm with Iceland Air. So I am guessing we will be stuck in end of that 2-5pm slot. Yuck!
I have tried to convince my husband that we should just stay over night in one of the nearby hotels and head to Philly in the morning as I know customs could take some time and after traveling from Norway to the US we are usually tired by the time we get there. If it wasn't for the huge flight price difference we would of just flown into Philly.
Not to mention who knows how long it will take to get our suv with Budget.

As far as IAD being a Washington Airport..it might not be to *locals* but when you are doing a travel search be it for flights or car rentals...in most cases, city of DC will show Dulles.
Philly airport is the kind of the same. You see it as Phila./Wilmington airport in searches.

Again, thanks for the info. and taking the time to reply to my post!
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Old 07-16-2014, 04:42 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,739 posts, read 8,950,593 times
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I would urge you to sign up for Global Entry. Totally worth the cost and initial hassle.
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Old 07-16-2014, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Ashburn, VA
989 posts, read 2,468,920 times
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Last time we landed with Icelandair (in April) there was only one other flight clearing customs at the same time- from Mexico. There were a lot more people in the non-US citizen line. But there were only about 4-5 passport stations open for US citizens. Landing to exit was about 45 minutes- really not bad at all. That was my experience with Icelandair. I believe they only have one flight per day to IAD so you are probably coming in on the same flight we did.
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