Skip to content

Proposal would mean new regional gates at Dulles Airport, but the 'mobile lounges' would stay

April 09, 2022
4 min read
Entrance to Washington Dulles Airport at sunrise
Proposal would mean new regional gates at Dulles Airport, but the 'mobile lounges' would stay
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

There could be good news on the horizon for passengers at Dulles International Airport (IAD). A new proposal announced by the airport’s governing body this week could eventually mean the end of the Concourse A gates that serve regional flights, which currently require travelers to walk outside when boarding and deplaning.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which runs both Dulles and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), announced Thursday that it’s seeking federal help to build a new, 14-gate concourse at Dulles. The new facility would replace the existing, regional jet section of Concourse A.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

If this proposal moves forward, it would mean much more modern facilities for travelers passing through Dulles, which in addition to serving the Washington, D.C. region, serves a large number of connecting passengers, since the airport is a major hub for United Airlines.

This project would not spell the end of the airport’s concourses C and D, where United operates gates, a replacement for which has long been at the center of discussion.

A mobile lounge passes the iconic old control tower at Dulles International Airport on Aug. 7, 2019. (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

The proposal by MWAA follows the 2021 opening of a new concourse at DCA, which meant the end of Gate 35X, where passengers previously had to ride a shuttle from the terminal to their aircraft.

Related: Frontier wants to ditch jet bridges in Denver

The proposal

The proposal announced Thursday by MWAA involves a “modern” concourse with 14 new gates, along with shops, restaurants and other customer services. This 400,000-square-foot facility would replace the existing 100,000-square-foot eastern section of the A concourse which was built in the 1990s. Currently, regional jet passengers accessing aircraft in that concourse must walk outdoors under covered walkways to get to and from the plane.

According to a map MWAA sent to TPG, when standing in the main terminal at Dulles, the new proposed concourse would be located beyond the existing C and D concourses where United operates its hub.

Sign up for our daily newsletter
(Image courtesy of Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority)

Airport officials say the new gates would be accessible both by the AeroTrain and the airport’s “mobile lounges,” or people movers.

The project is expected to cost between $500 million and $800 million, but MWAA is seeking $230 million in funding through the recent infrastructure bill passed by Congress.

“This new concourse would represent a major improvement in the passenger experience at the regional gates,” Airports Authority president and CEO Jack Potter said in a statement Thursday. As part of the same statement, United Airlines said it “strongly” encourages the Federal Aviation Administration to sign off on the funding, which MWAA says will help facilitate this project.

Since the proposal has not yet been approved, it’s not clear when construction on the new facility might start, or end.

Bigger improvement plans in the works

While this would represent a major upgrade for passengers at Dulles, it’s important to note that this proposal would not serve as a replacement for concourses C or D, which have been the subject of discussion between airport officials and United Airlines for decades.

Potter acknowledged the need for future improvements at Dulles as part of his statement announcing the new regional gates, calling this proposal a “first step in a long-term strategy” seeking to upgrade facilities at Dulles.

MWAA told TPG this week that “talks continue with United on proposals to replace the C/D concourse.”

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees