DC-area airports prepare for increase in holiday passenger count

During one of the most expensive holiday travel seasons in recent memory, Reagan National and Dulles International airports are expecting thousands of Thanksgiving-ready passengers.

Whether you’re getting to the airport on the newly-minted Silver Line or driving yourself to a reserved parking space, James Johnson, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, said you can expect to see more people on your holiday flight this week.

“We have seen an increase in airport traffic — heavier than normal volumes of traffic, to be exact — on the expressways and parkways approaching both airports including Reagan National and Dulles International,” Johnson told WTOP.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by WTOP News (@wtopnews)

During holiday travel, the authority expects to see over 340,000 individuals at Reagan National, with more than 130,000 traveling through Dulles. Last year, Dulles saw 237,277 passengers come through the airport gates; Reagan National boasted 281,402 patrons.

Ricky Smith, the executive director for the Maryland Aviation Administration, said that BWI Marshall Airport is expecting a return to pre-pandemic levels.

“We expect about 33,000 passengers to come through on the day before Thanksgiving,” surpassing the day before Thanksgiving in the year prior, he said.

The announcement comes amid ongoing staffing issues at airports, including some strikes among plane personnel and decreasing gas and airfare prices overall.

AAA Mid-Atlantic projected 1.3 million people in the region will be traveling, the majority in their cars, during the Thanksgiving holiday. The service said drivers should head out Wednesday morning or before 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and avoid late-afternoon travel on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

WTOP’s Thomas Robertson contributed to this report.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for WTOP.com. Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2022 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up