DULLES, Va. — Dulles International Airport (IAD) seems more of a reasonable option for DMV residents ever since the Silver Line extension.
More than a week before Thanksgiving, WMATA (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority) opened six new Metro stops in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties including the highly anticipated Dulles station.
It made traveling to the airport more affordable and convenient for residents such as Johnathan Garza, who lives in Anacostia.
"It took an hour for me to get here but the entire time, I just read a book and just chilled out," Garza told WUSA9. "I'm actually nerding out really hard coming over here because I've had to take flights out of IAD before. Taking the bus from the last stop was a bit of a hassle."
Airport officials expected busier travels since last Friday, with additional crowds on Wednesday afternoon. Anyone traveling out of IAD should expect longer lines the morning of Thanksgiving, according to Rob Yingling of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA).
"We're already meeting and exceeding the travel volumes that we saw in 2019," Yingling said. "The growth trajectory resumed with a vengeance."
It is unclear how much more the new Dulles stop is driving the numbers of fliers this Thanksgiving season, but clearly the amount of riders is only growing.
Metro officials said for the first six days since opening, the Dulles stop has been the busiest.
Out of the roughly 23,000 passenger trips at the new stops, roughly one-third of them came from Dulles.
Passenger trips are calculated by every person who enters a station and exits elsewhere.
"Leaving the airport is a whole process so it's really convenient that there's a Metro here," passenger Victoria Vossler added. "It's really cool because, in Florida, our public transportation is awful."
Airport authorities are recommending people take Metro if possible to avoid traffic and additional costs such as parking.
Expect full parking facilities because of high demand, especially around weekends and holidays.
Customers with reservations can park even if the garage or lot is full. Dulles has a large capacity for Economy parking, but riding shuttle buses adds to the time needed to reach the terminal.
Travelers are encouraged to use wayfinding apps when driving to terminals or parking facilities to pinpoint their pick-up or drop-off location.
We've upgraded and added electric vehicle charging stations inside parking garages. We have 16 chargers in Parking Garage 1 and 12 in Parking Garage 2.
Despite busy airports, AAA says 91% of Thanksgiving travelers – or 1.3 million people in Virginia will drive to their destinations.
In Northern Virginia, the current average price for a gallon of gas is just over $3.50, down by 7 cents from the week before.
Although gas prices have dropped, AAA reports this year we'll see the highest national average for a Thanksgiving since it started tracking gas prices in 2000.