Dulles occupies an awkward place for me. With most of my flights originating in Dayton, Washington’s not a bad location for a hub; with my highest airline status on United, it connects the right airline for me. Yet for the most part, I seem to spend a lot of time going out of my way to avoid it.
At first, it was simply a matter of airline; when I first needed to start visiting Northern Virginia in 2010, my airline status was with American. My job’s contracted rate for DAY–IAD was rather high, so unless I was pressed for time, I much preferred to take the cheaper-than-the-airfare mileage reimbursement and drive a few hundred miles than to fly on an airline I didn’t prefer into an airport I didn’t particularly care for.
In 2012, I started needing to travel to Charleston, South Carolina frequently, and our contracted airline for the Dayton/Charleston city pair was United. I gave in and switched to using United on routes where I had a choice, and Dulles was the most direct United hub between Dayton and Charleston. Yet, as often as not, I ended up booking flights through ORD instead. Though in both cases I was exclusively flying regional jets for both segments, at Dulles, I was guaranteed to have to use the A concourse and walk outside to my jet; at least at ORD, I had a reasonable chance of a jetbridge.
With the possible exception of the mobile lounges, Dulles has always felt like a really bland airport to me. The shops, restaurants, and concourse interiors are nothing special. The main terminal is unique, but when most of my flights through there involve a short connection where I may not even leave the A concourse, I hardly even get to see it. It’s a perfectly functional layover airport, but I just don’t really care for it.
I really like how O’Hare looks in silhouette form.
To be honest, O’Hare is the primary reason behind my decision to start my terminal silhouette project. It’s my third most visited airport, and although in reality it’s obnoxiously crowded, I really conceptually like the terminal layout. Even before I began this project, I’d often find myself doodling ORD concourses, which I’ve long since memorized.