A guide to Dulles International Airport (IAD)

When you fly out of Dulles International Airport, keep an eye out for the dramatic terminal design of noted architect Eero Saarinen.

The exterior of Dulles International Airport. Image credit: Skyhobo/iStock
The exterior of Dulles International Airport. Image credit: Skyhobo/iStock

Washington’s Dulles International Airport is one of three major airports serving the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. While Baltimore-Washington International Airport serves more passengers each year, Dulles handles 90 percent of the international traffic into the region. Although all flights fly out of the airport’s one stunning terminal, having a Dulles Airport map handy can help you find what you’re looking for.

Airlines flying out of Dulles International Airport

When you arrive at Dulles International Airport, you pass through Saarinen’s striking main terminal before heading to your Concourse for boarding via underground walkway or shuttle. Concourses C and D are reserved exclusively for United Airlines flights, while all other carriers share Concourses A and B.

All ticketing is handled in the main terminal, where you can find your carrier at one of four ticket counter locations, labeled 1 through 4.

Ticket Counter 1

  • Aer Lingus
  • Aeroflot
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Alitalia
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Delta Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • Etihad Airways
  • Porter Airlines
  • South African Airlines
  • Southwest
  • Volaris

Ticket Counter 2

  • Air France
  • American Airlines
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Emirates
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Saudia Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Ticket Counter 3

  • Air Canada
  • Alaska Airlines
  • ANA All Nippon Airlines
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • Lufthansa
  • SAS
  • Sun Country Airlines
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • Turkish Airlines

Ticket Counter 4

  • United Airlines

Airport lounges at Dulles International Airport – relaxation across the concourses

You’ll find airport lounges awaiting you in each concourse, with United Clubs being exclusive to Concourses C and D. Take a look at the options available to you:

Concourse A

Air France/KLM lounge

This Concourse A lounge recently underwent a complete renovation and reopened in early 2019. Premium passengers on all three airlines have access to the lounge whenever it’s open, and Priority Pass, Diners Club, and Lounge Club members are welcome to use the lounge during designated hours.

Because of the variety of airlines hosting the lounge, the food selections tend to be quite varied, with rustic French dishes and Champagne available. Showers are available if you need to freshen up before your flight, and a printer lets you prepare any documents you might need for work commitments.

Etihad Airways lounge

First-class and business-class passengers on Etihad Airways and Royal Air Maroc can use this lounge, as can Etihad Gold members. This high-ceilinged, two-story lounge offers plenty of natural light and seating areas with living room-style arrangements of comfortable chairs. A hot and cold buffet awaits you, and the full-service bar features premium liquor and an espresso machine.

The business center has several well-equipped work desks, and a separate children’s room lets the little ones get rid of excess energy before boarding. The lounge also features shower facilities and a prayer room. When it’s time to board your plane, you can do so directly from the lounge, with no need to return to the airport.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse

Upper Class passengers and Flying Club Gold members enjoy access to this lounge, and each member is entitled to bring one guest with them. The Clubhouse offers an extensive menu of cooked-to-order meals, along with a signature cocktail menu. Shower facilities are also available, and those flying from Washington to London Heathrow are entitled to use Virgin Atlantic’s Revivals arrival lounge once they land.

Spend your time wisely at Dulles International Airport. Image credit: narvikk/iStock
Spend your time wisely at Dulles International Airport. Image credit: narvikk/iStock

Concourse B

British Airways lounges

British Airways offers two lounges — the Galleries Lounge and the First Lounge — within one space that is separated into different seating and dining areas for business-class and first-class passengers. Premium passengers on American Airlines also have access to the lounge, as do Priority Pass members during certain hours. First-class diners have access to the Concorde Dining Room, where they enjoy waiter service and a high-end menu. In the business lounge, a buffet features salads, sandwiches and soups, and a full-service bar and espresso machine are also available. A small business center offers workstations for half a dozen people.

Lufthansa lounges

Lufthansa’s Senator Lounge, for first-class travelers, and its Business Lounge share a space in Concourse B. Star Alliance Gold members also have access to this lounge when flying domestically. First-class passengers have a partitioned private section within the Business Lounge and can enjoy upgraded menu and drink options. Guests can also board their plane directly from the Senator Lounge.

While the Senator Lounge doesn’t have showers, the Business Lounge does. True to its name, the Business Lounge also offers a business center to help you finish any work you need to get done before you board your flight.

Turkish Airlines lounge

Turkish Airlines’ premium passengers can use this lounge, and since the airline only has one flight per day departing Dulles, the lounge is also available to all Star Alliance carriers. Comfortable seating includes ottomans to put your feet up, while a shower is available to help you freshen up. A hot and cold buffet offers a wide variety of Turkish and American dishes, and a secluded nap room is available if you need to rest before your flight.

Concourses C and D – United Clubs

United Airlines hosts four United Clubs at Dulles International. Three are in Concourse C, at Gates C4, C7, and C17, with the final club in Concourse D, near Gate D8. These United Clubs are open to premium-class passengers on United Airlines, United Club members, and Star Alliance Gold members with boarding passes for same-day travel. From November 2019, United premium passengers will also be asked to show same-day boarding passes. Other United passengers are entitled to purchase one-day passes to the clubs when space is available.

The United Club near Gate C4 was previously a United First Lounge for use of first-class passengers. It features a small business center, with conference rooms available for reservation. Food choices consist of snacks, salads, and soups.

The Gate C7 United Club enjoys natural light and a business center with comfortable seating. A conference room is available for rental if you need to convene with your team before you take off, and the lounge also has a dedicated TV room. The cold snack buffet is sometimes augmented with hot food.

The United Club at Gate C17 is the most spacious of the Concourse C United Clubs, though it has next to no natural light. Workstations provide privacy and plenty of power outlets, and the cold buffet serves salads, snacks, and soups.

As the only United Club in Concourse D, the Club by Gate D8 can get a bit crowded at prime boarding times. This lounge is below the concourse itself, so it receives no natural light. The cold buffet serves a continental breakfast, followed by a spread of snacks, salads, and soups similar to those in the Concourse C clubs.

Hotels near Dulles Airport

While Dulles International Airport doesn’t have a hotel inside the airport itself, a couple of excellent choices are available within a very short drive.

Hyatt Regency Dulles

The Hyatt Regency Dulles is just 1 mile away from the airport and offers Hyatt’s Fast Board service, with airline kiosks available at the hotel’s front desk to let you print your boarding passes as you check out. A 24/7 business center and fitness center let you work or work out at any time, and jogging paths are available if you want to get outside. The hotel has two on-site restaurants as well as room service and catering for any meetings you want to hold in the Executive Meeting Center.

Hilton Washington Dulles Airport

Only 3 miles from the airport, the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport welcomes business travelers with dozens of meeting rooms as well as an Executive Lounge that serves complimentary breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres. Head to the fitness center or indoor saltwater pool to work out the stiff muscles from your flight, and enjoy a meal at any of three restaurants, with honey made from a bee farm on-site.

Soak in a saltwater pool to ease your muscles after a long flight. Image credit: PeopleImages/iStock
Soak in a saltwater pool to ease your muscles after a long flight. Image credit: PeopleImages/iStock

Dulles International Airport shopping

Each concourse at Dulles International offers a variety of shops to meet your need for souvenirs, fashion, or practical necessities for your flight. Duty Free Americas shops are available to those flying to their home countries, with all duty-free purchases delivered to you at your plane. With these duty-free shops stationed in each of the four concourses, you won’t have any trouble finding the fragrances, watches, liquor, and jewelry you want to take home.

Concourse A shopping

If you need a quick upgrade to your headphones or have to replace that cable you forgot, you can take care of electronics needs at Bluwire. Complete your outfit with the high-end fashion choices available at Burberry, or pick up the accessories and jewelry you need at Erwin Pearl or Montblanc.

Concourse B shopping

Whether you need to take home a luxurious gift or you’re shopping for a treat for yourself, you can find world-class accessories at Coach, Vera Bradley, Swarovski, or Landau Jewelry. Looking for a new outfit for that big presentation? Stop in at Michael Kors, Vineyard Vines, Polo Ralph Lauren, or Thomas Pink. The Estee Lauder and MAC stores let you pick up any cosmetics you may have run out of, while Kiehl’s and L’Occitane provide top skin care choices. Stellar News and Washingtonian News make sure you have the reading material you need for your flight.

Concourse C shopping

Pick up souvenirs to take home to loved ones at America!, which features collectibles commemorating Washington, D.C. and the United States. No one wants to board a flight without anything to read, so stop in at Capitol City Ink or Hudson News for magazines, newspapers, and books, as well as last-minute travel necessities. If you need to replace some electronics for your flight, InMotion Entertainment has you covered.

Concourse D shopping

Stop in at Forbes News, Capitol City Ink, the NBC4 Travel Store, or Hudson News for that all-important reading material to keep you occupied on your flight. While Concourse D has limited shopping options, Concourse C is only a stroll away.

Dining at Dulles International Airport

Whether you’re in the mood for a burger or a fine meal, or you just want to catch the game and enjoy a beer before your flight boards, you’ll find plenty of dining options in each Dulles concourse.

Concourse A

If you want more than frozen yogurt or breakfast pastries, you’ll find some solid selections at this concourse.

  • The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck: The celebrity chef brings his relaxed yet elevated style of dining to this table-service restaurant that also features a full bar. Enjoy waffles, pizzas, pasta, and crab cakes.
  • Smashburger: When you’re in a hurry and only a great burger will do.
  • The Firkin and Fox: British comfort food for lovers of fish and chips or shepherd’s pie.

Concourse B

The popular Capitol Grounds Coffee keeps you well-caffeinated in Concourse B, or stop for a drink or some great comfort food here.

  • Five Guys: Yes, this Virginia burger chain has gone national, but there’s still plenty of reason for locals to take pride — and enjoy a pre-flight burger.
  • DC-3: This hot dog joint serves beef and veggie dogs with all the toppings you’ve ever dreamed of (fried Oreos, anyone?).
  • Vino Volo: If you prefer wine to beer, stop here for sandwiches and small plates to go with your glass of vino.
  • Burgundy and Gold Club: Washington Redskins fans gather here to watch the game before boarding.

Concourse C

Sure, you’ll find Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts in every concourse, but if you want more, you have some excellent options.

  • Chef Geoff’s: Well-known D.C. restaurateur Geoff Tracy brings his deluxe burgers to the airport here.
  • &pizza: Custom-made pizzas are welcome at any time of the day when you’re traveling.
  • The Chef’s Table by Wolfgang Puck: This newest opening from Puck brings international comfort food to the airport, with steak frites and pizzas on the menu, all made with locally sourced ingredients.
  • Be Right Burger: Veggie and turkey options make this custom burger spot a good choice for everyone.

Concourse D

The Dulles Gourmet Market is open 24/7 if you’re flying late at night, while these other spots keep you happy during normal hours.

  • Bistro Atelier: Hakan Ilhan, the chef behind Washington’s popular Mirabelle, brings French bistro classics, including crepes and brunch choices, to the airport.
  • Bar Symon: Great breakfast burritos for early travelers, and specialty beers to pair with the excellent burgers later in the day.
  • DC Craft Brews: Expect a different selection of craft beers every time you visit this welcoming bar that highlights local breweries from Maryland and Virginia.

Whether you’re setting off on a long-haul international flight or arriving at home after a long business trip, having a smooth airport connection can make all the difference. Book a reliable Blacklane car service to complete your journey in comfort and style.