HALFA
Topic Author
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Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 8:53 am

I returned yesterday from my trip to Brazil flying UA HNL-DEN-IAD-GRU-GIG-GRU-IAD-DEN-HNL. While I don't want to write a UA trip report here, I will say that as a first time visitor to IAD, I was appalled and as an American, I was embarrassed at how horrible this airport is. This is surely the worst big city airport in the US and worse, it's in our nations capital! I flew in and out of terminal C and it had to be the dingiest, darkest airport corridor I have ever seen, and talk about sparse facilities! The eating choices consisted of a pretzel place, yoghurt, or the worst airport McDonald's I have ever laid eyes on. It was the size of a closet and the workers from North East Africa were rude and clueless. (Nothing personal against citizens of North East Africa)
The worst experience though took place yesterday. Upon arriving in IAD from Sao Paulo, we proceeded to immigration only to find that the immigration counters were staffed by ONE inspector. Yes ONE! Here it was, 6:30am and a nearly fully loaded 767 had arrived along with two other flights from South America with several hundred passengers and there was ONE inspector to handle all US citizens and ONE inspector to process all non US citizens. It was horrendous. I might expect this in Wichita or some other small city but not in the US Capital. If that wasn't bad enough, the one inspector on duty wanted to be chatty. He looked at my immigration card and my passport and found out I was born and still reside in Hawaii and he then took a minute to tell me about his trip there with his wife several years ago, and how they had such a great time seeing the islands. I couldn't believe it. I wanted to tell him, look moron, you are holding up the line of 300 people behind me but I knew that if I said anything, he would send me to the back of the line so I bit my tongue and remained polite.
If you live in the DC area, I can't imagine using this airport on a regular basis. And again as an American citizen, I was embarrassed!

HALFA
HA J Class Lie flats, coming soon to a plane near you........
 
AussieItaliano
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:10 am

I hear ya! When I was in college at Georgetown, I often had to fly in and out of IAD. In addition to what you have already mentioned, the so-called mobile lounges are also a disgrace, and access to the airport from Washington is pretty bad (and the access road is loaded with cops).

However, that being said, improvements are in the works. I remember flying in and out of airports like MDW and YUL not long ago was similar, but renovation made those experiences like night and day. Hopefully the same thing will happen with IAD.

As for the customs inspectors, that's the fault of the Customs Service. Don't even get me started on them!
Third Runway - LHR, Second Runway - LGW, Build Them Both!!!
 
halls120
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:18 am

Quoting HALFA (Thread starter):
This is surely the worst big city airport in the US and worse, it's in our nations capital!

You've obviously never arrived in JFK on an international flight. It is just as dingy as IAD.

That said, I agree that the IA at Dulles is an embarrassment.


Quoting HALFA (Thread starter):
I flew in and out of terminal C and it had to be the dingiest, darkest airport corridor I have ever seen, and talk about sparse facilities! The eating choices consisted of a pretzel place, yoghurt, or the worst airport McDonald's I have ever laid eyes on.



Terminal C is a "temporary" facility. Next time you are at IAD, visit Terminal B. That's what C is supposed to look like - someday.

Quoting HALFA (Thread starter):
The worst experience though took place yesterday. Upon arriving in IAD from Sao Paulo, we proceeded to immigration only to find that the immigration counters were staffed by ONE inspector. Yes ONE! Here it was, 6:30am and a nearly fully loaded 767 had arrived along with two other flights from South America with several hundred passengers and there was ONE inspector to handle all US citizens and ONE inspector to process all non US citizens

Welcome to the new improved Department of Homeland Security. I've flown out of IAD for 14 years, and the staffing levels among Customs & Immigration have been on a steady downturn ever since DHS was created.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
N1120A
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:21 am

Quoting HALFA (Thread starter):
The eating choices consisted of a pretzel place, yoghurt, or the worst airport McDonald's I have ever laid eyes on.

There are FAR more options for food in the concourse than just those. Additionally, the compact nature of C/D makes it ideal for United's hub operation.

Quoting HALFA (Thread starter):
. Upon arriving in IAD from Sao Paulo, we proceeded to immigration only to find that the immigration counters were staffed by ONE inspector. Yes ONE! Here it was, 6:30am and a nearly fully loaded 767 had arrived along with two other flights from South America with several hundred passengers and there was ONE inspector to handle all US citizens and ONE inspector to process all non US citizens.

There are actually 2 FIS facilities. You used the one for connections. This allows United to have the lowest international-domestic connecting time of any major airport. I would not have been able to do a 56 minute connection (booked by UA) if it had not been for that facility. All those who are terminating in Washington use the larger international arrivals facility and your fully loaded 3-class 763ER only had 193 seats if every single seat was taken. The C/D concourse may be a bit dark, but it is indeed efficient and serves United quite well.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
DTManiac
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:21 am

HALFA,

finally I found one guy thinking the same about IAD as I do. I connected there twice this year.

As you said the immigration facilities are quite poor and seem to be understaffed.
During the security screening the TSA employee threw my laptop in one of these plastic boxes like a piece of waste.
The whole airport just seems to be like a long hall. It doesnt look very good either. When I was there it was completely overcrowded, very few chances to get a seat.
They seem to have problems with the baggage also. During the first connection to IAH they lost my bags. When I flew IAD-FRA later, our 747 had to wait for about an hour because some bags were still stuck in the screening facility. How can that happen?

I will definitely avoid that airport in the future if possible.

Frederik
Gig 'em Aggies!!!
 
saab2000
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:27 am

I agree 100%. Last year when I started working there for Air Wiscsonsin as United Express I was speechless at the conditions. To use the words "National Embarrasment" is not overstating things. It is a terrible airport and a terrible experience for travellers.

The Express gates are a joke. The mobile lounges have outlived their usefulness by 20 years. The security lines are long and very chaotic and disorganised. The delays are bad.

I consider it the worst airport in the United States. I have flown in and out of many and for me IAD is the worst. The funny thing is that the other concourse is not that bad, but the C, D and G concourses are terrible.

If IAD had about 40% less traffic it would probably be tolerable.
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Bicoastal
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:41 am

Mobile Lounges....if you really have been to Dulles recently, you would have noticed the incredible amount of tunneling and construction under way to build the airport subway between the terminal and the midlfield gates. In a few years, it'll be just like Denver.

The subway is being built out to the area where the new C and D gates are supposed to be built for the new United/Star Alliance gates. I agree the present "temporary" C and D gates are horrid. You should see the amount of cockroaches I saw at that McDonalds's once. Needless to say, I don't eat anymore at the C and D gates when I travel.

Send your complaints to United, PLEASE. United needs to get on the ball and commit to to the airport authority to pay for the new permanent C and D gates. As United's Atlantic gateway, it sucks.
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Kahala777
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:53 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 2):
You've obviously never arrived in JFK on an international flight. It is just as dingy as IAD

Uh, JFK, depends on what airline you are on. United Airlines/British Airways share a common termanil that is above average in decor and convenience. Termanil 4 and Termanil 1 have had total facelifts and really are something to write home about.

Quoting HALFA (Thread starter):
If you live in the DC area, I can't imagine using this airport on a regular basis. And again as an American citizen, I was embarrassed!

Welcome to my Respected User List... Washington Dulles, is one of Americas most embarassing gateways to the World. As an American, who has arrived on a number of United Airlines flights from Europe and Denver, I can totally agree with your assesment of one of many national disgraces.

Dulle seems to be stuck in some kind of a sick and decaying rut. In many cases the airport is a mix of 70's drama and DFW memories. Both of which many of us would much rather have left 25 or so years ago in the past. The sad thing is that United Airlines is the hub airline and its facilities are near to subpar for a hub airport.

KAHALA777
 
ckfred
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 10:00 am

DTManiac:

TSA problems aren't just at IAD. My wife was flying from ORD to CAK on UAX in August, 04. Every UA departure was running late, because TSA wasn't clearing bags fast enough.

The manifest showed that her CRJ200 was supposed to have 40 bags, and only 10 had been loaded at departure time. It took another 20 minutes to get the other 30 bags loaded and the hatch closed.

The problem is that Congress mandated that TSA do a number of things on a fixed schedule, without regard to the feasibility of the schedule. The UK took its time after Lockerbie to get aviation security to an acceptable level. That was 4 years. It took another 2 to 3 years to get security to a level where the government felt that virtually no one could get weapons or explosives onto a departing flight.
 
usflyer msp
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 10:26 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 3):
There are actually 2 FIS facilities. You used the one for connections.

Actually, the Latin America flights use the IAB for all passengers. They arrive in the early morning and the Connections FIS facility is only open in the afternoon during the trans-atlantic bank between roughly 2:30 and 6:30pm.

I dislike Dulles as well (I use DCA if the DC area is my final destination) although it is great for connecting non-revs (especially in the 2:30 to 6:30 bank) . I have been on stand-by for significantly overbooked flights that left with empty seats due to outrageous 2.5 hour security queues.

USFlyer MSP
 
Espion007
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 10:41 am

Im going to have to go to IAD in 2 weeks, and possible go through the horrid D concourse.

Quoting HALFA (Thread starter):
If you live in the DC area, I can't imagine using this airport on a regular basis. And again as an American citizen, I was embarrassed!



Quoting AussieItaliano (Reply 1):
the so-called mobile lounges are also a disgrace

The last time I was in one of those mobile lounges, it started to fill with smoke as soon as we left the gate  scared 
Snakes on a Plane!
 
halls120
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:00 am

Quoting Kahala777 (Reply 7):
Quoting Halls120 (Reply 2):
You've obviously never arrived in JFK on an international flight. It is just as dingy as IAD

Uh, JFK, depends on what airline you are on. United Airlines/British Airways share a common termanil that is above average in decor and convenience. Termanil 4 and Termanil 1 have had total facelifts and really are something to write home about.

True. My last flight into JFK was on Delta, and that IA arrival set up is the one I was referring to.

Quoting Kahala777 (Reply 7):
Dulle seems to be stuck in some kind of a sick and decaying rut. In many cases the airport is a mix of 70's drama and DFW memories. Both of which many of us would much rather have left 25 or so years ago in the past. The sad thing is that United Airlines is the hub airline and its facilities are near to subpar for a hub airport.

As I said before, I agree that Dulles is indeed an embarrassment. But it's not like nothing has been going on. The MWAA spent the better part of the 1990's bringing Reagan National up to par - and at the same time, expanding the Dulles Main Terminal, rebuilding the B concourse, and building two huge parking garages. Now, they are finally building the long awaited rail system, and hopefully, a new C/D concourse. As a frequent flyer, I'd like to see Dulles look like Reagan National, but as a taxpayer, I recognize it can't all be done at once.

Seems to me Heathrow is undergoing the same kind of renovation.....

Quoting USFlyer MSP (Reply 9):
I have been on stand-by for significantly overbooked flights that left with empty seats due to outrageous 2.5 hour security queues.

Again, you can thank Congress, DHS, and TSA for the afternoon rush caused by not enough screeners.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
iairallie
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:04 am

They are making lots of improvements, Eventually it will be a much more passenger friendly airport. Take a look at the B terminal sometime, It is very nice with lots of food /retail facilities. As someone else mentioned C/D is a temporary facility and I agree it is awful always so hot and stuffy. I've been fortunate to never have a long wait at immigration there (unlike NRT, LHR and SYD).
Enough about flying lets talk about me!
 
nwafflyer
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:06 am

And, that is why I come into the US through either Detroit, Minneapolis or Houston (depending on where I'm coming from). I will schedule my international trips, and pay extra if needed so that I can land at an airport of my choice. Strangely, EWR (Newark) is also decent -- but the other NY airports are horrible, and also customs at Logan is OK, the airport itself is pretty bad
 
brokenrecord
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:10 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 2):
Terminal C is a "temporary" facility. Next time you are at IAD, visit Terminal B. That's what C is supposed to look like - someday.

Agreed. I visited Terminal B for my ANA flight to NRT, and it is absolutely beautiful compared to C and G.
 
spartanmjf
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:38 am

Now those of us in Maryland would solve this embarassment easily - just come to BWI!
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deltagator
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:45 am

Dulles...ancient indian word for "airport always under freakin' construction!"

Quoting Spartanmjf (Reply 15):
Now those of us in Maryland would solve this embarassment easily - just come to BWI!

BWI...ancient eastern shore word for "continually rebuilt parking garage." I swear they have been working on that thing for 20 years.
"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
 
HALFA
Topic Author
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:50 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 3):
There are FAR more options for food in the concourse than just those. Additionally, the compact nature of C/D makes it ideal for United's hub operation.

You're right, my mistake. I forgot about the donut/bagel place, natural snacks place, and some brewing company with, I think 4 tables next to the fleabag McDonald's. Great healthy options for hungry fliers flying all day.

Quoting Bicoastal (Reply 6):
....if you really have been to Dulles recently, you would have noticed the incredible amount of tunneling and construction under way to build the airport subway between the terminal and the midlfield gates. In a few years, it'll be just like Denver

They have YEARS to go before they are anything like the beautiful, spacious Denver airport that I arrived at from IAD. UA's B Concourse in Denver was heaven compared to IAD. Wide corridors, floor to ceiling windows with great views of the mountains, lot's of eating choices, wide moving walkways in both directions, it was night and day compared to IAD.

I forgot to mention the shuttles from the arrival terminal to customs. These big white Tundra Buggy lookalikes (if you've been to Churchill, Canada you know what I'm talking about) They load all of us into this "shuttle" but all of the ones who boarded the shuttle first took seats at the very front, or stood up near the entrance, blocking the narrow pathway with their carryon's to the open seats in the back. I soon realized why. They had obviously cleared customs at IAD before and knew that if they were not one of the first one's off the shuttle, they would have a LONG wait to clear immigration.

I will be flying back to IAD next Friday as a crewmember, working a charter for the Oakland Raiders for their game next weekend against the Redskins. Hopefully we will not be pulling up to the "C" concourse.

HALFA

[Edited 2005-11-11 03:51:37]
HA J Class Lie flats, coming soon to a plane near you........
 
Cadet57
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:51 am

What are these mobile lounges that people constantly mention here?
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Kohflot
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:57 am

For me, any shortcomings of the C/D concourse are immediately nullified by the glory of the main terminal building.
Ask why..
 
deltagator
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 12:04 pm

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 18):
What are these mobile lounges that people constantly mention here?

Check here and scroll down to find it. They are fun to ride a few times but they really need to finish the train tunnel at IAD.

http://www.metwashairports.com/Dulles/history.htm
"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
 
Boeing7E7
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 12:18 pm

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 18):
What are these mobile lounges that people constantly mention here?

An idea whose time has passed.

For those whinning about IAD, get off it. The damn place is getting a face lift.
 
freakydeaky
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 12:22 pm

According to the latest - the brand new C & D concourses are supposed to be completed in 2012. Dulles seems to be way behind the country on new terminals. Dulles requires lots of patience to be sure!!
"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could."
 
halls120
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 12:42 pm

Quoting HALFA (Reply 17):
They have YEARS to go before they are anything like the beautiful, spacious Denver airport that I arrived at from IAD. UA's B Concourse in Denver was heaven compared to IAD. Wide corridors, floor to ceiling windows with great views of the mountains, lot's of eating choices, wide moving walkways in both directions, it was night and day compared to IAD.

Perhaps it is taking too long, but the MWAA is trying to improve the place. And if you take a few minutes to visit IAD's B concourse, you will see a huge difference from the C/D concourses.

Perhaps if the MWAA had the benefit of building an entirely new airport in a different location from their existing operation, it would be as nice as Denver - which is a relatively brand new airport that had the luxury of being built while traffic was still using Stapleton. Not the most appropriate comparison.

Quoting FreakyDeaky (Reply 22):
According to the latest - the brand new C & D concourses are supposed to be completed in 2012. Dulles seems to be way behind the country on new terminals. Dulles requires lots of patience to be sure

What makes Dulles any different from any other large and busy airport that has to rebuild while still operating? MIA's new D terminal is nice, as is the A terminal, but the rest of their terminals aren't anything to write home about. PHL's A terminal is nice, but D is a dump. LHR is going to have a nice new T5, while T1 and T2 aren't any better than C and D at Dulles.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
DAYflyer
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 1:19 pm

Another prime example of taxpayer funds hard at work on our behalf.  Yeah sure
One Nation Under God
 
freakydeaky
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 1:36 pm

Quoting DAYflyer (Reply 24):
What makes Dulles any different from any other large and busy airport that has to rebuild while still operating? MIA's new D terminal is nice, as is the A terminal, but the rest of their terminals aren't anything to write home about. PHL's A terminal is nice, but D is a dump. LHR is going to have a nice new T5, while T1 and T2 aren't any better than C and D at Dulles.

True. I am patient with their progress - but I am surprised at the lack of services in the C concourse. This affects the employees as well. I wish they would at least put a couple good places to grab a somewhat healthy bite. They even tore the Starbucks out. (Not saying that was healthy).

It's funny - today as I was briskly walking from the B terminal to the Main Terminal on the underground walkway - there were people complaining about it. I had to chuckle because before it opened - everyone was saying that they'd rather walk and how much they hated the mobile lounges. How ironic!!
"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could."
 
usflyer msp
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 1:40 pm

Is there another airport where the primary tenant has the worst facilities?

USFlyer MSP
 
symphonik
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 1:42 pm

IAD sucks. Lived there and flew out of there for many years. They have had decades to do something about those godforsaken mobile lounges, and have talked about some rail system for just as many. In theory, it's under construction, but anyone who has lived there for any amount of time knows any construction in NoVA/DC is always sloooowwww.

Anyway, when I hear "lounge", I picture nice comfortable chairs and a quiet place to rest! Not "a cramped box filled with angry pax." Plus there's no line control, at least in Term C -- it's a pile of people all cramming into the two doors for the shuttle.

Call these things gate shuttles and be done with it.
 
roseflyer
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 1:44 pm

While I fully believe in beautiful attractive terminals, I don't want to pay more to get it. I don't want to pay higher fares. I don't want to pay higher taxes. I don't want to buy government bonds. While I love some remodelled airports (like SEA's 40ft wall of glass looking out from a large open area to the main runways, it is a huge expenditure of money. There are much better things to spend money on, even within the transportation sector. I would totally prefer better access to airports rather than huge expensive complicated structures that I will only enjoy for maybe an hour.

While some cities/countries take pride in their glorious architecture, it is a lot of money that could be used elsewhere. IAD does a good job of accomplishing its function: get people in and out and minimize delays. It is probably one of the least delay prone airports on the east coast and for that reason I intentionally transit through there. America does not need to prove itself with another lavish expensive airport at its capital. DCA is already quite attractive. I just don't see the reason to spend all of this money redoing a facility only for it to be called dated and horrible in 20 years forcing another remodel. When IAD was first introduced it was hailed as an amazing and beautiful airport. Overall, lets work on some other projects that this country desperately needs.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
An-225
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 1:49 pm

I don't really mind the airport itself, except the fact that it's rather dark, depressing and crowded. What I do like is those benches with no armrests - I've slept on them on more than one occasion.

What bugs me is the customs. I work for United Airlines, therefore, I enjoy non-rev privileges. A few weeks ago, I traded a few days to go to Amsterdam for just a day. When I got into customs, I was pulled for additional screening. Now, I realize the situation and I don't mind that at all. What I do mind is the rude treatment. That bonehead could not figure out that when you go to Europe, you lose a day, and when you come back, you come back the same day. He also said, "You're not my brother, you're not my cousin and you're not my friend. I don't know you, so it's your job to prove to me that you're not a threat". Whatever happened to being polite and courteous? What happened to being innocent before proven guilty? I showed him my airline ID badge, I told him that I just went to get away and because flights were wide open and I had award coupons for absolutely FREE (no taxes/fees) to spend on my trip. I just think that Department of Homeland Security can be a little more selective in choosing candidates that represent the face of this country.

I never had any problems going throuch customs anywhere else. In Amsterdam they were quick and professional. In Frankfurt, the same story. In SFO I was out in 10 minutes and at ORD there were no problems.

As for IAD itself, I'll continue flying through there whenever I need to.

Alex.
Money does not bring you happiness. But it's better to cry in your own private limo than on a cold bus stop.
 
halls120
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 2:03 pm

Quoting An-225 (Reply 29):
I just think that Department of Homeland Security can be a little more selective in choosing candidates that represent the face of this country.

Don't feel too bad. I carry an official passport, which used to get me a friendly "hello" and rapid processing. Nowdays, I consider myself lucky if an officer makes eye contact. I really don't think it's the individual officer - I think it's their leadership. While customs and immigration officers now share the same uniform, they seem to have all received instruction on how to be sullen, slow and inefficient.

Another wonderful "benefit" of DHS....
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
NAV20
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 2:23 pm

I also find Dulles a depressing airport to visit. One of the worst things is the signage - last time I was there a friend who was meeting me didn't show for 40 minutes; she'd got there in good time but simply couldn't find out which baggage claim I'd be waiting at.

About 'mobile lounges', though, properly furnished and handled, they'd represent a huge cost saving at any airport. The cost of any building usually depends on its floor area and/or cubic capacity, plus the amount of services like air-conditioning you have to put in. A huge part of the capital cost of any conventional airport must be taken up by the sheer volume of expensive space that is taken up by walkways, lounges, gates, and jetways, all laid out in a 'fan pattern'. In addition, of course, the aeroplanes themselves are scattered all over the airport, increasing the cost of servicing, replenishing, etc.

And, if nothing else, at least the 'mobile lounge' does some of the work for you. Maybe beats walking along miles of corridors under your own steam?
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
PlaneGuy27
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RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 3:16 pm

Quoting DAYflyer (Reply 24):
Another prime example of taxpayer funds hard at work on our behalf.

Let me bring up a few points for all of you complaining that Dulles is too congested and a horrid travel experience and dare I saw your tax dollars are wasted.

1. 21 million passengers now fit through an airport that is working hard to expand facilities among an industry where many airlines are in financial turmoil - including the three main tenants of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority - US Airways, United, Independence Air. There will be a subway and new facilities and might I add that this greenfield site will be able to expand capacity by the millions in the future.

2. You can all complain and complain about all of the people but all of those people represent a huge rise in traffic which lowers fares for guess who the taxpayers...It also puts Dulles on the map as a major international gateway. Think about the economic impact of gaining in the last 10 years - Copenhagen, Johannesburg, Tons of Carribbean expansion, Vienna, Munich up to 2x, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires - ALL OF THOSE FLIGHTS bring in tremendous economic benefit to the DC area and helps us remain a strong regional economy compared to others around the US. Oh wait more good news for the taxpayers. Stop whining about the crowded McDonalds and be happy you are flying nonstop for a cheaper price. And look at the millions of square feet of office space in the Dulles Corridor and ask again if your taxpayer dollars are hard at work - Like it or not - Dulles Airport IS THE ECONOMIC ENGINE of that area. The new restaurants will come in time. I am in DC and travel a lot for work and nonstop out of Dulles will always prevail unless I can get a cheap nonstop out of National. MWAA is doing a great job.

3. The fact of the matter is that United and other intercontinental carriers are indeed filling a niche and doing something at Dulles that is obviously working. They are alluring the international business traveler by offering a growing international network from Dulles. And they have to compete with National which may be the most convenient airport in the world. If you don't like Dulles, then feel free to drive up to that shiny new Southwest Terminal at BWI. Have fun trying to get to Narita nonstop or to Vancouver in the summer or Sao Paulo or a choice of 8-9 daily flights to London Heathrow...oh wait, if you walk over to that International Terminal at BWI which is pretty new - it is EMPTY!!!!!

4. Dulles is growing and in time with be a major world player. It is a greenfield airport site and these days many airports aren't as poised as Dulles is to takeoff with additional capacity in a huge business and leisure market.

5. And when you think that airports can change reputations - look back to the Old NW hub at Detroit Metro and then look at the new McNamara terminal at DTW.

Dulles will be a leader in the future. United is lucky to have a sizeable operation there....FLYI may go away but another low fare carrier will enter. Even AirTran today, announced IAD-BOS 4 times daily - hello wasn't BWI their focus city? And in their press release they mentioned that Chicago service from the DC area may be announced soon - wouldn't you have thought 3 months ago that BWI would be a shoe in for this new type of service.

Enough said....

It's late and PlaneGuy27 needs to get some Z's.

 Smile
 
gocaps16
Posts: 4138
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2000 9:14 am

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 3:47 pm

Quoting FreakyDeaky (Reply 22):
According to the latest - the brand new C & D concourses are supposed to be completed in 2012. Dulles seems to be way behind the country on new terminals. Dulles requires lots of patience to be sure!!

I like to mention that the project didn't start today but some 5 years ago. The new control tower is being built and is almost completed, the new Terminal G is a record built but is worse then Terminal C/D, the new runway will be built soon as they get those damn trees out of the way, the train system is being built to replace the mobile lounges by 2008 or so. But wait til 2012, you will fall in love with Dulles. I've flown in and out of Dulles all the time, not just United tho. The location kinda sucks but it's an easy drive, at least I don't have to pay for tolls on the tollway or worry too much about traffic. I just feel bad for those flying from Europe going thru immigrations and custom.

Kevin
 
bcbhokie
Posts: 135
Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2004 7:30 am

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 5:08 pm

Say everything you want about C/D, but they're fabulous compared to Terminal G, United's commuter shack, er, facility. Remember, as I've said in plenty of other Terminal G threads, G is for Ghetto! Dulles G is one of the absolute worst terminals in civil aviation, full stop. Yeah, I understand the space-crunch circumstances under which it was built - which may be alleviated if Independence significantly downsizes or goes Ch. 7 - but that's still no excuse for there being minimal visible effort to fix the problem any time in the near future.

From my perspective (a Virginian not from the DC Metro Area), IAD is the perfect reflection of the northern Virginia area that it serves; poorly planned, overcapacity and unpleasant. Our nation's capital at one time had great potential, but the outer suburbs have become one of the worst examples of traffic and urban sprawl in the country, and the population density is unfortunately reflected in the lack of enough good terminal space at Dulles. DCA deserves a lot of credit for being both pleasant and mass-transit accessible - now we just need to get Dulles up to the same standard of quality.

Man, did I mention Terminal G is bad? :P
 
FlyMeToTheMoon
Posts: 189
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2004 9:01 am

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:47 pm

Interesting opinions. I have flown in and out of IAD for the last six years pretty much every week and I like - now flame away!

Here is why I like it - the airport access road is coll because it is dedicated to airport access (as the name suggests) and it will get you in and out of DC very fast. Yes it is loaded with cops - airport cops - because people tend to really speed on it.

Yes, C and D are old, dark and not too welcoming. The new G where UAX operates from it is even worse. But... A/D and now the new Z where US Airways operates out of area very much moder, bright and welcoming. C and D will eventually become the same way, once the Airport Authority is done spending the $5bn for rennovations and a new runway.

Personally I like to mobile lounges because you get a great view of airport operations and that really unique smell of burn fuel, especially during cold days. I used to love flying LX because they were parked at a remote stand so you could really get a good look at the airport while boarding.

I will grant you that security, immigration and customs are a "challenge" but that has to do with DHS, it is chronic throughout the country and nothing the airport authority can do.

Here is what is new and upcoming at IAD:

1. There is now an underground walkway between the hourly parking lot main terminal and A/B.
2. The new automated tram is scheduled for completion 2007 when the lounges will go away.
3. The new daily parking garages, while overpriced, are within easy reach of ther terminals and great places for spotting.
4. There are new food choices in terminal A/B and the main terminal.
5. A new runway is going to be built and the new control tower is almost complete.

All in all I love IAD and I will continue flying out of it. Helps that it is only about 4 miles from my house  Smile

Happy flying!
Fly me to the moon... but not through LHR!
 
brokenrecord
Posts: 747
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 6:45 am

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:05 am

Quoting Spartanmjf (Reply 15):
ow those of us in Maryland would solve this embarassment easily - just come to BWI!

Considering both Dulles and Reagan are only 25 miles from my parents house where BWI is 50, you do the math...  Smile
 
HALFA
Topic Author
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2004 8:24 am

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:05 am

Quoting PlaneGuy27 (Reply 32):
. The fact of the matter is that United and other intercontinental carriers are indeed filling a niche and doing something at Dulles that is obviously working

In regards to UA's operations at IAD, the only thing that might be working is getting people from point A to Point B, but in doing so, they are not providing an enjoyable experience. IAD is a UA hub and UA's operation there should not be operated out of a hell hole. Terminal C is HORRID and all of UA's international route structure that you boast of will not change that fact. Nor will it change the fact that when you arrive from a foreign city in the morning along with other International flights, there MUST be more than ONE immigration officer on duty to process hundreds of people.

Quoting Bcbhokie (Reply 34):
Say everything you want about C/D, but they're fabulous compared to Terminal G, United's commuter shack, er, facility.

Thanks for the warning. If terminal G is worse than terminal C, I'll be sure to avoid UAexpress out of IAD.

Quoting FlyMeToTheMoon (Reply 35):
Yes, C and D are old, dark and not too welcoming

And that's a big understatement!

HALFA
HA J Class Lie flats, coming soon to a plane near you........
 
UA744Flagship
Posts: 1433
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 1999 1:55 pm

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:10 am

Quoting An-225 (Reply 29):
What I do like is those benches with no armrests - I've slept on them on more than one occasion.

HAHA! I've done that to. Especially with IAD's notorious rolling summer delays, and the numerous mechanicals I've experienced there. (a 4hr delayed IADSJO was one, an 8hr delayed IADORD 763 was another!)

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 31):
One of the worst things is the signage

Agreed. So many people misconnect, not only because security is a clusterF**K, but because post-security is even more of a maze.

Quoting Bcbhokie (Reply 34):
Dulles G is one of the absolute worst terminals in civil aviation, full stop.

Yes. Yes. Yes. I call it "Auschwitz" because you are led into a dark, dank corridor to your aircraft which is nothing short of a miserable experience.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 3):
This allows United to have the lowest international-domestic connecting time of any major airport. I would not have been able to do a 56 minute connection (booked by UA) if it had not been for that facility. All those who are terminating in Washington use the larger international arrivals facility and your fully loaded 3-class 763ER only had 193 seats if every single seat was taken. The C/D concourse may be a bit dark, but it is indeed efficient and serves United quite well.

Thank you for pointing this out. Despite all its flaws, IAD is still pretty efficient (at least for connections solely on the C/D concourse). Going to G or the main terminal? Then you're screwed! Lol.
no wire hangers!
 
brokenrecord
Posts: 747
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 6:45 am

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:11 am

Quoting HALFA (Reply 37):
Thanks for the warning. If terminal G is worse than terminal C, I'll be sure to avoid UAexpress out of IAD.

Terminal G sucks donkey d|ck.
 
Bicoastal
Posts: 2446
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 1999 5:56 am

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:15 am

Quoting DAYflyer (Reply 24):
Another prime example of taxpayer funds hard at work on our behalf.

Not exactly. Most airports, including Dulles, fund improvements through revenues from fees on tickets, leases, percentage profit from retail and food sales and parking revenue. There may be a couple of FAA grants thrown in. But beyond that as far as Dulles is concerned, the people who use it, pay for it, not the general taxpayer.

Here's the Washington Metropolitan Airport Authority website:
http://www.mwaa.com/
Send complaints, suggestions and other problems to them.
Airliners.net has many forums. It has spell check and search functions. Use them before posting!
 
captainstorck
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 1:40 am

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:27 am

I would have to agree with the posts that recommend going to BWI, it is much more accessible than IAD and all around a nicer airport to travel into or through.
 
freedomtofly
Posts: 714
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2005 8:07 am

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:34 am

Quoting Spartanmjf (Reply 15):
just come to BWI!

Or DCA. A much closer and very nice alternitive to the dreary, disgusting IAD. It is true that they are building some sort of underground subway thing which will help passengers transfer between terminals faster, but the terminals themselves still look like crap!!

Aaron
You are now free to move about the world.
 
UA744Flagship
Posts: 1433
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 1999 1:55 pm

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:56 am

The problem with a new C/D concourse at Dulles is that MWAA wants the company to fund most of its development.

Estimated cost: $3 Billion. Hello? Whatever profit we make annually at IAD would be wiped out, and then some, if we had to assume this financial obligation. That's the size of the exit financing!
no wire hangers!
 
DCA-ROCguy
Posts: 3890
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2000 5:03 am

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:04 am

Thank you for pointing this out. Despite all its flaws, IAD is still pretty efficient (at least for connections solely on the C/D concourse). Going to G or the main terminal? Then you're screwed! Lol.

A couple of months ago I picked up friends at IAD who were arriving on a UAX flight from PWM, which arrived at G. They didn't get to the baggage area until nearly 50 minutes after their arrival. I don't think they were futzing around after deplaning, either.

Given the billions that IAD is spending on trains, garages, etc., I have to agree with RoseFlyer that they might not want to spend a heap more on replacing C-D. Airlines, like IAD's largest tenant who is still in bankruptcy, are not in a position to pass on big fee increases to pax. Cost-management is paramount, and IAD needs another runway much more than it needs to replace a big chunk of existing, functional gate space.

Yes, C-D are nasty. I would think that for under $50 million MWAA could really spruce the ratty old thing up, and get some more mileage out of it. Replace the little narrow windows with wide, tall windows that would let in light. Repaint, redecorate, etc, maybe some skylights. Maybe even re-clad the exterior with something other than the industrial corrugated warehouse look. That's the worst part. It looks like you're arriving at an old cargo terminal, or as one A.netter put it, a giant jetway.

Jim
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
 
ti717
Posts: 220
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2000 11:33 am

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:13 am

Quoting Kohflot (Reply 19):
For me, any shortcomings of the C/D concourse are immediately nullified by the glory of the main terminal building.

Have you ever uses the Main terminal?

Since I live on the Metro's Yellow line and pass the DCA everyday I could be very bias. I rather flying out of Terminal A at DCA and walk from the metro ( A nice walk thru the old terminal  Yeah sure) before I will drive and park at IAD. It seems to take a lot long to get thing done at MWAA vs. Other airports (BWI for one) but it could be how they have to make sure everyone is happy in the federal government.

TI717
Sir, don't you think we should turn on the runway lights?" "No, that's just what there expecting us to do!"
 
airbazar
Posts: 6798
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 11:12 pm

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:22 am

Ironically, as a non-citizen, I found the IAD immigration officers to be the nices ones that I ever met. I know exactly what you mean about the dingy facilities. As far as facilities go the airport is a dump but given the alternative of being treated like a criminal by immigration officials at other airports (at least that's what it feels like most of the time), I think I'd still take IAD over many other places.
 
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AirPacific747
Posts: 9249
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 9:52 am

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Sat Nov 12, 2005 2:47 am

It is definately not a good airport to switch planes in, and I dont like those buses you have to take to change terminal
 
D L X
Posts: 11628
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Sat Nov 12, 2005 3:00 am

Are you kidding me? Or do you work for BWI?

Seriously, calm down. You did happen to notice the cranes, the tunnel-borers, the backhoes, etc.? You were aware that C/D are temporary terminals, right? You know that IAD in the last 3-4 years very suddenly exploded with growth, right?

Seriously, I'd much rather fly into IAD than ORD, SFO (except for the new international terminal), JFK, or DTW's non-McNamera terminal any day. Are these places crap? Certainly not. So, just relax, enjoy a Starbucks or a $15 CPK pizza, and wait for IAD's construction to finish.

Times are changin', gotta be patient.
 
BG777300ER
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2005 3:22 am

RE: Washington Dulles-A National Embarrassment

Sat Nov 12, 2005 3:05 am

I don't know what the problem is. I fly through threre like twice a year and I have no major complaints except the long security lines. The main building is really nice with the curved roof and in the late afternoon, the airport is very light and a nice place to be with all the people there getting ready to leave on their Europe flights. I mean "national embarassment", get a life! Jeez, it's just an airport, it doesn't have to be 5 star hotel quality.....
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