I absolutely HATE IAD. DCA is the only good airport in the DMV area, out of BWI, IAD, DCA, RIC, CHO, ROA, and ORF!
Wow, dropping bombs on IAD huh?
And yet you spot at IAD lol
As a fellow DMV person, I like all the airports equally (you forgot CGS by the way, the oldest continuously operating airport in the world I believe).
I have done the most long hauls out of IAD, most short hauls out of DCA, and the most medium hauls out of BWI. Throughout my travels, I began to appreciate that we have not one, not two, but three home airports, each serving their own purpose. For example, BWI is full of LCCs, DCA is convenient for its proximity to DC, and IAD offers flights to tons of destinations around the world.
To answer your question, on the spotting side, I like IAD more because of the variety of airlines and aircraft it serves, while DCA has the same old American CRJs/ERJs/737s. In terms of the airport, I like IAD more, as there are more shops/restaurants and it has more space than DCA (on my flight from DCA-JFK there was barely any space to sit, and the gate/security areas were really crowded (this is the flight I remember the most from DCA)). In terms of flights, IAD is better as it has more destinations. However, I like both equally.
Why do you hate IAD?
Never mind about CGS, it isn’t a commercial airport
It hasn’t been apporved yet
My home airport is KIAD. Considering by my IG.
Then why is it KPNS
Cause I havent changed it since I moved to Virginia and plus I’m to lazy to think of a new IG name
BWI is ok, but that’s a differen’t subject.
Dulles is a great airport for spotting, but it seems like just another airport. The security there are really annoying and have arrested spotters for spotting there. The main building has no artificial lighting and is pitch black at night. The FOUR runways are absolutely unnecessary, only two of them are used at a time, and one of them is almost never used. It does have international flights, but is much cheaper to fly to the New York area (EWR and JFK) and connect on an international flight. We get many airlines, but never much use. Sure United is a great airline, but it gets annoying when you’re spotting and see an airline other than United every 45 minutes or so. The private jets are literally stacked on top of each other and the three control towers make no sense, as two of them are there just to look pretty and have an observation deck.
DCA is great because it is always exciting to see a new aircraft arriving, in all sorts of liveries (IAD rarely gets special liveries). I love watching aircraft participate in the difficult river visual (IAD just has straight in approaches)! The large variety of airlines that hub and have a focus airport at DCA makes for an interesting spotting experience, almost guaranteeing that no two aircraft from the same airline depart in a row. The beautiful skyline of DC is a lovely sight as well as the water in the Potomac (all you see are trees from IAD). DCA also gets some interesting weather conditions, bringing a new challenge to the pilots, making every landing more awe-striking. There is always going to be a river visual, no matter the runway in use. Only one (1) runway is used, except for the occaisional 15 departure and 33 arrival/departure. The wide variety of aircraft from a CRJ-100 to a 757-300 and the rare 787 makes the spotting expercience, and flying experience nore fun. The security there will check in on spotters, have some friendly conversations, and move on. They are nice. The airline staff at the check-in desks are very wonderful people. It costs less money to fly out of DCA.
All reasons why DCA is better than IAD!
For perspective on airline diversity at the two airports: