A bit on the small side, but with charming efficiency and closer than average distance to the heart of Washington DC, Regan National Airport is a contradiction to what most travelers might assume would be the experience of an airport located in the heart of the U.S. Capital. Instead of being backed up and overcrowded, (hallmarks of government bureaucracy) Regan has a reputation of processing its passengers and flights with precision and fairness, no easy feat considering the amount of traffic this city sees daily from business and pleasure seekers.
The first plus that the airport has to commend itself is the full range of access to transportation of every sort. Just outside the terminal wait public buses, shuttles to car rentals, hotels, shared vans and the metro branching right out into town. The metro is an affordable and common means of navigating D.C. and signs to it are easy to follow. For late flights and weekend nights be sure and check the schedule as the metro runs at more infrequent times later at night. One can walk from the airport to the metro without stepping outside. Taxi’s and trains can get one to the heart of the city within 15 minutes.
There are three terminals A, B and C. Overall the architecture of the building is impressive. Lots of glass and windows allow for natural light and the main halls are well decorated and have high ceilings. The airport is obviously built in smaller dimensions than more modern airports, but it has nowhere to expand. Terminal A gets the most complaints. It is where the Airtran and Southwest flights depart from and arrive to. The long walk from the center of activity near the B and C terminal complex is a burden for some travelers and generally people complain at the minimal restaurant offering. Terminals B and C handle the bulk of the major airlines. Overall, the destinations are varied and many non stop cross country flights can be found.
There is almost always a line for security due to the small space in the airport, but it moves with incredible speed. It was readily apparent that the security staff were serious about their jobs without any rudeness or delay. It can easily be jammed up in the small space, but there are many benches and tables provided beyond the screening area in which travelers can spread out without inconveniencing others.
Food and shopping options are average. There is a little bit of something for every taste and desire, but don’t expect grand gastronomic choices and a miniature outlet. As space is limited and the focus being on efficient transit, there are not many layovers or reasons to be spending large amounts of time in the airport and the commercial offerings reflect this. There is free wifi in the airport which works well and is easy to connect to. Power outlets and charging stations can be found in abundance in the waiting areas. Restrooms are clean and there is a United Club here as well. The approach to the airport is very scenic since it sits right on the Potomac River and with panoramas of the monuments. It is recommended to have a seat on the left side of the aircraft in order to get the optimal views.