How difficult/expensive is it to get from the Baltimore airport to DC?

My husband has to make a last-minute trip to DC, by the 15th of June. We can save about $100-150 on plane tickets if he lands at the Baltimore airport. We are totally unfamiliar with that part of the country. How feasible would it be to get to DC, especially late at night (his plane would land after midnight). Would it just be better to pony up the extra and fly into IAD or some other similar airport?

It’s not too much of a hassle.

If he’s renting a car, from BWI, it’s easy to get onto the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and shoot into the city. Probably 45 minutes at that time of day. Keep in mind, it takes a little time to get from Dulles to DC, too – so if Dulles was another option, that’s not so great either.

Also, trains run from BWI to Union Station but it doesn’t look like they run after midnight:

There are also shuttle services that go to DC, but I don’t know how much they are or if they run late.

Anyway, the point is : it’s not too bad. A straight up cab ride might be $50, though.

Here’s some info from Southwest about transportation at BWI. I have family in Maryland, so if I’m flying into BWI, somebody’s almost always picking me up at the airport, so I don’t have personal experience with any of this.

Getting to DC isn’t bad from BWI, though the time frame is a bit challenging. Basically, I think all you do is get on I-195 until you reach the I-95, then get on I-95 until you reach the Beltway and then take the Beltway to wherever. If he isn’t going to rent a car or grab a cab, another possibility (depending on time of day, and I don’t think after midnight is doable) is to take the shuttle to the Amtrak station and then catch a train to either Union Station or New Carrolton, depending on where in town he’s headed, as both of those are both Metro stops and Amtrak stops. The MARC might be another possibility. Honestly, if I didn’t need a car and was coming in at the right time of day, Amtrak/Metro is how I’d probably do it.

Flying into Dulles will put him in Virginia, about an hour out of DC, and there will be the same distance/driving problems without the benefit (that I know of) of easy rail access into Washington. Personally, I’d either fly into BWI or into National, but not Dulles.

There is a MARC (regional rail) that runs past BWI and goes to Union station. You take a shuttle bus from the airport to the train station (it’s a stop on one of the parking shuttle bus loops). It’s easy and cheap ($6 ?) but doesn’t run all that frequently outside of rush hour. Here’s the schedule.

I’ve found that flights into DCA (Reagan National) and IAD (Dulles) tend to be about the same price. Reagan is easier from a transit perspective but Dulles usually has more choices for airlines / times.

Thanks guys for all the quick responses! He won’t be renting a car, so we’ve decided to go with DCA. Thanks again!

Unless your destination is somewhere in the eastern (esp. northeastern) suburbs, Dulles is somewhat closer than BWI, but not by enough to justify a significantly higher ticket price. Basically, National is the way to go if you don’t have access to transportation, esp. if you’re going to land at night.

They’re ostensibly in the process of extending the Metro out to Dulles, which will make it much more convenient than BWI, but that’s years away, assuming it ever happens.


As I’ve never flown into Dulles, just taken the shuttle from the Air and Space Museum out to the new wing at Dulles, I was going from what I remembered from that trip. So yeah, I can see why I could be wrong, especially since I was concentrating more on the girl sitting next to me both ways. (For what it’s worth, one of the reasons I always went to BWI is because I was going to be picked up and spend a night with some friends in Severna Park, MD.) And I had to be picked up and spend a night because the Amtrak schedule from where I was coming from and the outgoing flights simply would not sync up so I could do it all in a day. There were no outgoing flights at like 10 or 11 PM from BWI (which actually isn’t as bad as it sounds as I was going to fly west and pick up a couple hours.)

My mother always hates flying into National because of the approach. Personally, I wasn’t too happy the one time I flew into National either but that’s because I had to clear customs coming in from Frankfurt and that was a nightmare.

I took a cab ride from Baltimore to Arlington a few months ago and it was $85. It would have been less for D.C…

I took the train back from Union Station to Baltimore Apt (it wasn’t running when I arrived as it was late on a weekend night) and it was $17.

Oh yeah, that’ll scare you shitless the first time. But now I find it kinda fun, a little like a roller coaster.


That must have been Amtrak; the local Maryland commuter train (MARC) is only about $6 or so for the same trip.

Problem is that MARC doesn’t run on weekends, and some folks who aren’t from the area don’t even know about it.

I usually use something like Super Shuttle, the rates tend to be far more reasonable than taking a cab. I’ve only flown out of BWI once and I took the Marc train there since it was a day flight.

One thing to keep in mind about National Airport: for security reasons (they’re worried about terrorists flying planes into buildings in Washington), they won’t let you get out of your seat for 30 minutes before landing there or 30 minutes after taking off from there.

I can’t find a cite now, but supposedly people have gotten into trouble for this. Even if you’re like Mr. Neville and aren’t particularly worried about getting out of your seat when the seatbelt sign is on (I’m paranoid about this, so I hate it when he does that), stay in your seat before arriving at National and after leaving.

I believe that policy has been officially rescinded.

Indeed it has.