expandJFK
Topic Author
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IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:15 am

IAD is a poor airport from a terminal design standpoint. For the capital of the USA it is in dire need of an upgrade. I would suggest totally demolishing it and building a modern terminal. The current facility looks like something out of the 50's and the concourses look like sheds or bus stations. I'll stick with AA at DCA.
 
N1120A
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:21 am

The main terminal is quite a beautiful design and the B gates are nice. The issue is UA's two trailers hooked together to make C and D. That was supposed to be replaced years ago.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
expandJFK
Topic Author
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:23 am

I used the C gates, so I must have missed the B's. However, I disagree on the main terminal. It's an outdated dinosaur that comes across as something out of the 50's with terazzo floors and a low hanging cieling. I'll take a modern terminal anyday.
 
N1120A
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:34 am

Quoting expandJFK (Reply 2):

I used the C gates, so I must have missed the B's. However, I disagree on the main terminal. It's an outdated dinosaur that comes across as something out of the 50's with terazzo floors and a low hanging cieling. I'll take a modern terminal anyday.

Modern terminals often use similar designs. I'm assuming what you don't like is the interior, which could use some sprucing up. The design of the building itself is iconic.

Anyway, the C and D gates are well known for being efficient but horrible looking with poor amenities and poor lighting. The rest of the gates are fine, with perhaps A being an exception but that is an RJ hub anyway. C and D are a soccer ball that United and MWAA keep kicking back and forth, because neither wants to pay to build the new terminal.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
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kearnet
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:46 am

expandJFK,

The whole place pretty much has been updated, but I think I know what you mean, I believe you're primarily referring to the main building where check-in and baggage claim are?

The whole style has been purposely left to reflect the early 1960's as when it was built, due to it being a historical land mark because it was designed by famed architect Eero Saarinen. Due to this designation,it can't be changed.

When the main hall was expanded several year ago, great care was taken to make sure all the material matched.

Personally, I love the whole place (Including the United "trailers" as I'm wicked back to the glory days of air travel. Gotta love that font they use throughout!

Boston Terminal "C" (Which as a very similar design, just smaller ) also has a very similar feeling although recent remodeling has diminished that to a certain extent.
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slinky09
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:54 am

The main terminal is indeed beautiful and if it were decluttered could regain some of its lost beauty too. It's soaring roof and the whole look is just wonderful.

As an international frequent traveller to IAD however the whole place sucks. The reliance on those antiquated people movers, the slow and compressed immigration hall, the distances between terminals, the cramped security, etc etc. It's an exercise in flow then compress, flow then compress that is out of date and results in a poor experience.

That said the B gates and that part is nice, airy and efficient.
 
ba319-131
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:03 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 3):
The design of the building itself is iconic.

- Absolutely!
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D L X
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:44 am

Quoting expandJFK (Reply 2):
However, I disagree on the main terminal. It's an outdated dinosaur that comes across as something out of the 50's with terazzo floors and a low hanging cieling.

Low ceilings? Are you sure you're talking about the main terminal?

That ceiling is what, 50 feet over your head?
 
expandJFK
Topic Author
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:46 am

The feeling of a descending ceiling really irks me. I feel like it's coming down on top of me, a very weird feeling. I prefer a vaulted ceiling far better like LHR T5.
 
mattdell
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:54 am

I'm shocked to see the original post. IAD is definitely one of the most beautiful airports out there.

Though I never venture into the C/D gates. Its always the main iconic building then straight to gate A32 with a possible stop off at Harry's Tap Room.  
 
smokeybandit
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:14 am

IAD is not "the capital of the USA". DCA is. IAD is about as far away from DC as BWI is.
 
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Revelation
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:27 am

Quoting kearnet (Reply 4):
The whole style has been purposely left to reflect the early 1960's as when it was built, due to it being a historical land mark because it was designed by famed architect Eero Saarinen. Due to this designation,it can't be changed.
Quoting slinky09 (Reply 5):

As an international frequent traveller to IAD however the whole place sucks. The reliance on those antiquated people movers, the slow and compressed immigration hall, the distances between terminals, the cramped security, etc etc. It's an exercise in flow then compress, flow then compress that is out of date and results in a poor experience.

Someone once quipped that IAD is proof that great architects don't necessarily understand queuing theory! 

Ok, it's a geeky joke, but quite true, it gets proven true each and every day at IAD...
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Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
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lpdal
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:41 am

Are you kidding? IAD is the best!

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5506/13919496067_1c9f6643fa_c.jpg
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7457/14126222893_f46e067a1e_c.jpg
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jfk777
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:08 pm

The main building was designed by Saarinen who also designed the TWA JFK terminal. It was expanded about 25 years ago. The C/D concourse is beyond its expiration date.
 
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enilria
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:24 pm

Quoting expandJFK (Thread starter):
For the capital of the USA it is in dire need of an upgrade. I would suggest totally demolishing it and building a modern terminal.

Give the tenuous nature of the UA hub, I'd not expect any major spending on the terminals.
 
sulley
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:50 pm

Hmm, in looking at the poster's age -- he's only 16-20.

I would venture that he hasn't developed a full appreciation for vintage "modern" architecture yet.

IAD is a classic and I hope it never changes.
In thrust we trust!
 
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jfklganyc
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:56 pm

The terminal itself is cool and the font is purposely retro (which is also very cool)

However, the place is a maze. Low ceilings. Always something under construction. Z gates, A, C, B...there's even a freaking compass on the floor post security.

Too many escalators, stairs, switchbacks, elevators, spacemobiles...it looks like an updated 100 year old subway station that a 5 year old imagined.

The whole design really is a pain in the a**.


Going forward, UA will likely downsize further and the UA concourses will be bulldozed consolidating everything on the very modern concourse closest to the terminal. That will help.
 
airplan727
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:04 pm

I agree IAD is a great airport. The main terminal is an amazing sight to see. I actually did a report when I was in elementary school on the architect and his design of the building I found it so amazing. The UA concourse is a bit dated and not all that pleasant to be in for a few reasons, but I see no major need to overhaul the whole airport. I imagine the C/D are still the way they are because they keep discussing moving UA elsewhere in the airport.
 
SkyTeamTriStar
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:05 pm

Quoting smokeybandit (Reply 10):
IAD is not "the capital of the USA". DCA is.

And, yet both IAD & DCA are located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Just saying
 
sldispatcher
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:34 pm

Not to mention the cost of building new terminals...is it really worth it?

I think too much is made over on actual terminal space. Comfortable chairs, decent lighting and signage. I'd rather have those things than worrying about if the ceiling is too high or too low. I prefer my tax dollars to be spent on useful projects, demolishing a perfectly functional space is not one of them.
 
IADCA
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:04 pm

Quoting Sulley (Reply 15):
Hmm, in looking at the poster's age -- he's only 16-20.

And now he's 76+. By the time you read this, he'll probably have finished the mummification process!

Quoting N1120A (Reply 1):
The main terminal is quite a beautiful design and the B gates are nice. The issue is UA's two trailers hooked together to make C and D. That was supposed to be replaced years ago.

Pretty much exactly this. The AeroTrain is nice as well, but it probably would have been a better use of the funds to do the tunneling for that and just put in moving walkways rather than a train and then used the saved funds as part payment for replacing C and D.

Quoting expandJFK (Thread starter):
The current facility looks like something out of the 50's and the concourses look like sheds or bus stations. I'll stick with AA at DCA.

You should have seen DCA 20 years ago if you think IAD is dingy now.

Quoting expandJFK (Reply 8):
The feeling of a descending ceiling really irks me. I feel like it's coming down on top of me, a very weird feeling.

To quote Mr. Garrison on South Park, "Drugs are bad, mmkay?" But seriously, you only need to be in view of that ceiling for about 5 minutes. That's long enough to not look at it.

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 16):
However, the place is a maze. Low ceilings. Always something under construction. Z gates, A, C, B...there's even a freaking compass on the floor post security.

There's always something under construction because they're trying to remedy a lot of the problems people complained about. Five years ago you'd be complaining about the moon buggies. Now you can avoid them except international arrivals. You would have complained about the tiny international arrivals area. Now that's fixed. Security was too small and the lines wedged into the middle of the main terminal. Now that's fixed.

It's too bad the major tenant at IAD is in the worst terminal and that that's all many people see of the place, but I'm no great fan of IAD and I've been in many airports I'd consider far worse.
 
DTWPurserBoy
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:05 pm

The main terminal at IAD is on the National Register of Historic Buildings and will not be going anywhere. Saarinen did an incredible job of designing a building which is reminiscent of flight.

Preservationists and architects of note would consider it a sacrilege to demolish such a timeless structure. When it was expanded about 25 years ago they were very careful to merge the new and older sections seamlessly. And if you look closely inside the terminal you will see the large tube running at an angle from the ceiling down through the floor that looks like part of the architectural detail (which it is) but it also serves as the runoff for rain and snow water.

I still get a charge when I drive out there early in the morning and see the soaring structure rising from the Virginia mist.
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saab2000
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:08 pm

IAD is much more Washington's international airport than BWI is or ever will be.

The C/D terminal sucks and the rest of it is fine, though the RJ gates are also pretty nasty. I don't know why that part of the travel experience is just brushed off as "Just RJ gates". The customers buy the tickets from the name carrier so they shouldn't be treated poorly just because the carrier is a contract carrier.

Anyway, IAD is mostly OK but the United C/D terminal leaves A LOT to be desired. I agree with that 100%.
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burchfiel
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:09 pm

IAD is my favorite airport, mainly for sentimental reasons. I find the main terminal to be one of the most beautiful I've ever visited. The A and B gates are pretty nice also. Eventually (I hope) the C and D gates will be replaced, and then the airport as a whole should look fantastic.
 
AA737-823
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:22 pm

Quoting expandJFK (Thread starter):
IAD is a poor airport from a terminal design standpoint.

Yes, because JFK is the shining beacon of airport brilliance?
NINE terminals, at one time, and six today, with practically none of them interconnected?
IAD is actually fairly similar in design concept to DEN- one of our nation's more efficient airports- and ATL- another great airport, in spite of some shortsights.

Quoting expandJFK (Reply 2):
It's an outdated dinosaur that comes across as something out of the 50's with terazzo floors

Heaven forbid we keep a floor in place for longer than you've been alive. Because the eco-friendly and taxpayer friendly thing to do is..... rip it all up and install a new one????

Quoting expandJFK (Reply 8):
The feeling of a descending ceiling really irks me.

Great, stick with DCA. Not sure why one guy's irritation at the ceiling design justifies building a multi-billion dollar airport to replace a perfectly functional (albeit in need of improvement) one.
 
neutronstar73
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:40 pm

Quoting expandJFK (Thread starter):

Are you kidding? The main terminal is very classy. And the font they use throughout the airport? Oh my, it looks so retro-60's cool, like something I expect out of "2001: A Space Odyssey". And who can say the passenger vans are not cool? Sure, they are not necessarily the most modern thing, but it is a cool way to move passengers and it gives the feeling of being in the future.

At least, that's my opinion. I think IAD is one of the most memorable airports around.
 
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hufftheweevil
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:41 pm

expandJFK, have you been to PHL yet? I think we need a demolition before IAD. Sure, Terminal A West is only 10 years old, and Terminal F is 13 years old, but the rest needs to go. Built in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and remodeled here and there, it's time for A-East through E to be gone! Not to mention, the airport as a whole would improve if we could just demolish the whole thing and start over. No flights to PHL for 5 years!
Huff
 
martinair50
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:45 pm

I would agree with the thread starter's statement. The terminal used by UA really doesn't impress. It's not roomy, it just looks outdated and there are barely any big windows.

[Edited 2014-11-03 07:46:23]
 
mcg
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:22 pm

From the perspective of someone who uses IAD to connect, it's pretty bad. The UA concourse is ugly, minimal food and drink (the highlight is Wendy's) and poorly organized. It's weird and hard to get to the B concourse in the odd bus-like machines. International arrival and transfer feels like punishment. The B concourse is pretty nice with a strategically located Chipotle.
 
b777a340fan
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:45 pm

Why fix something that's not broken? Albeit the fact that IAD is not DXB, it is efficient and serves its purpose. I'm not looking for a worldly experience when I go to an airport, I'm looking for fast and friendly customer service, which I have always gotten at IAD.
 
Junction
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:47 pm

The IAD bashing puzzles me. I connected through the dreaded B/C concourse for the first time a few months ago on the way to and from DXB. After reading about it on here I expected something horrible, confusing and delapitated. I was surprised to find completely the opposite. Just a big long, clean concourse with plenty of the usual airport amenities. Even looking somewhat sharp in my opinion with the recently updated UA blue and gray theme. Nothing close to as bad as most make it out to be. Especially if it is something that was meant to be temporary.

[Edited 2014-11-03 08:50:07]
 
holzmann
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:49 pm

As a DC resident, I would start doing the following:

1. Metro access from downtown DC to IAD (coming via Silver Line by 2018?)
2. Keep the iconic main terminal building but substantially update it. Essentially keep the exterior but gut the interior.
3. Demolish C and D and essentially copy A and B.
4. Get rid of the hideous, aging, environmentally unfriendly mobile lounges.
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757SanCam
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:53 pm

Just flew thru IAD Sunday, my commuter flight from Morgantown was late, had to go from Z gates to C4. What I don't understand is why the train stops were built so far away from gates. That's a real long run from the C gate stop for the train to the actual gates. Barely made flight, to me, it seems the stops could have been a lot closer to gates, makes it real interesting to catch close connections. And yes, before I get flamed, my original connection time was just over an hour.
 
socaldl
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:10 am

As an architecture major and a total fanboy of Eero Saarinen, that terminal may or may not be one of my favorite buildings in this country, so yeah, it's not going anywhere. Fun fact: in 1996 the terminal was expanded from 600 ft to 1,240 ft which was the length of the original design by Saarinen. It is a timeless example of modernism and it combines by two loves of architecture and aviation, so I'm very passionate when I say nobody is touching it.

Concourses C/D however, bring in the bulldozers. Or better yet hitch them to a truck and tow them away like the mobile homes they are. In all fairness I've only flown through Dulles twice, and both times I've only used C/D (and I was sprinting to not miss my connection). Although I've never actually been in A/B, from the pictures I have seen they are beautiful. While I agree that C/D work, I don't think they're fit for a hub operation by United. A lot could be done here in terms of connection to the main terminal and just making them a decent place to spend time. I know the aerotrain hooks up to C, but those mobile lounges need to go, they are not on the national register of historic places. Customs and immigration also needs more refining. I know it can be tricky with the midfield satellite design used by Dulles, but take some lessons from ATL.
 
Natflyer
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:46 am

The CBP facility is not necessarily bad, but chronically understaffed and baggage service and the exit lines are bad.
Those horrible "mobile lounges" should have been scrapped decades ago.
 
FRAIAD
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:49 am

Quoting 757SanCam (Reply 32):
What I don't understand is why the train stops were built so far away from gates. That's a real long run from the C gate stop for the train to the actual gates.

Very easy to explain: The AeroTrain C gates station was built where a new C/D councourse would/will be built, South of the existing C/D so that construction could/can proceed with the existing gates still in use. The A and B gates stations are right underneath the concourse.

For the record: I do not understand the Dulles bashing. IAD's terminal building is timeless and beautiful and the rest of the airport not as bad as some people make it sound. I agree that C/D needs to be replaced or should have been replaced ten years ago but A/B are quite nice and the AeroTrain is pretty convenient in my opinion. I also have to emphasize that the various modernization steps undertaken were carefully integrated into the old terminal building's architecture. Just look at the main terminal AeroTrain station and the security screening area. One more thing: There are not too many other airports in the Northeast that have so few problems with congestion. That is definitely more important to me than some low ceiling. And I have used United's gates quite a lot over the last couple of years.
 
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RyanairGuru
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RE: IAD Is A Poor Airport.

Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:09 am

Quoting FRAIAD (Reply 35):
One more thing: There are not too many other airports in the Northeast that have so few problems with congestion

      

I have an itinerary coming up which involves a 1h10m connection at IAD. A bit short, but the only other option was 1h17m at EWR. No brainer. I can deal with a "trailer" terminal for 1 hour.
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