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Transfer from IAD to DC with Infant

Transfer from IAD to DC with Infant

Old Dec 31, 10, 12:33 am
  #1  
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Transfer from IAD to DC with Infant

Hi Everyone,

My wife and I are travelling from Australia to DC in late Jan with our 5 month old baby in tow. We are flying into IAD on Sunday afternoon and need to get all three of us downtown to the Holiday Inn Washington Central.

We'd probably prefer not to rent a car so we are looking at other transfer options.

A few questions:
+ Is it possible to get a cab or car pickup service that has an infants seat? Recommendations from anyone - ideally that i can book via email/ web as phone is a bit tricky from this side of the world.
+ Any good bus, train, other options that people might recommend?

Not sure what the law is over there but cabs can't take babies over here unless they have a child seat - and you basically need to book one.

Oh, and any local knowledge on what to do in 3 or 4 days in DC most welcome. I'm a space nerd so i've got the Smithsonian on my list and a few of the obvious political sights but any other tips welcome.

thanks!
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Old Dec 31, 10, 12:25 pm
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Washington Flyer has a monopoly on taxi service out of IAD. Other taxi companies can take you TO Dulles, but they are the only ones that can take you FROM Dulles. I have no idea about the availability of infant seats, but here's their website and maybe you can contact them directly with your question: www.washfly.com/Taxi.html

Another option is Super Shuttle: www.washfly.com/super_shuttle.htm

The bus/train connections are certainly cheaper, but a bit more hassle, especially with a baby in tow. You can take the Washington Flyer coach service to the West Falls Church metro station and take the subway in from there. Or you can take Metrobus 5A to the Rosslyn Station and take the Metro Blue Line from there.

The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum is certainly a must, and I'd recommend the Natural History and American History Museums as well. A couple of other interesting spots are the Newseum (www.newseum.org) and the International Spy Museum (www.spymuseum.org). Both of these require paid tickets though.
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Old Dec 31, 10, 10:42 pm
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Originally Posted by gtownguy View Post
Washington Flyer has a monopoly on taxi service out of IAD. Other taxi companies can take you TO Dulles, but they are the only ones that can take you FROM Dulles. I have no idea about the availability of infant seats, but here's their website and maybe you can contact them directly with your question: www.washfly.com/Taxi.html

Another option is Super Shuttle: www.washfly.com/super_shuttle.htm

The bus/train connections are certainly cheaper, but a bit more hassle, especially with a baby in tow. You can take the Washington Flyer coach service to the West Falls Church metro station and take the subway in from there. Or you can take Metrobus 5A to the Rosslyn Station and take the Metro Blue Line from there.

The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum is certainly a must, and I'd recommend the Natural History and American History Museums as well. A couple of other interesting spots are the Newseum (www.newseum.org) and the International Spy Museum (www.spymuseum.org). Both of these require paid tickets though.
Thanks for the tips. I've emailed the Washington Flyer company and hoping for a reply. Otherwise, i guess the bus is an option or we might just fall back on renting a car.

Do you or anyone know how easy it is to rent a car from the airport and drop it off in the city somewhere?
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Old Jan 1, 11, 4:05 am
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IAD is a poor airport for public transportation options. Given your situation of having lots of stuff and several people, I'd say taxi is the definite option. Rental car is another option, though navigating the streets in downtown DC is not the easiest thing to do for a visitor, especially when jet lagged and/or if during rush hours. It is easy to drop off a rental car in downtown. For example, Aviis has 3 locations in central D.C., but note that these locations have much more restricted hours than airport locations and that purchasing gas in downtown DC isn't so easy (there are only a few places).

As for things to do in DC, there are other existing threads on that topic. You might want to check out the NASA website as NASA headquarters is very close to the National Air and Space Museum. They may have a gift shop, information center, etc. Also, Goddard Space Flight Center is in the D.C. area and note that there are two branches of the National Air and Space Museum and that one branch is located at Dulles Airport itself.
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Old Jan 1, 11, 4:11 am
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Originally Posted by AlanInDC View Post
IAD is a poor airport for public transportation options. Given your situation of having lots of stuff and several people, I'd say taxi is the definite option. Rental car is another option, though navigating the streets in downtown DC is not the easiest thing to do for a visitor, especially when jet lagged and/or if during rush hours. It is easy to drop off a rental car in downtown. For example, Aviis has 3 locations in central D.C., but note that these locations have much more restricted hours than airport locations and that purchasing gas in downtown DC isn't so easy (there are only a few places).
Thanks Alan.

A simple question: does anyone know whether it's normal for people to catch a cab with an infant without a baby seat? We won't have one but can have the baby in a carrier attached to my wife or my chest.

I know in some jurisdictions it's illegal but no-one cares, in others it's legal, and in some it's illegal but rigidly enforced. I guess, does anyone know whether we're likely to be able to find a cab that will take us?

thanks
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Old Jan 1, 11, 1:32 pm
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Do you or anyone know how easy it is to rent a car from the airport and drop it off in the city somewhere?

It's actually very easy, and traffic wouldn't be bad on a Sunday afternoon. Only problem is a lot of the in-town rental places would be closed on a Sunday - or would close early. (You could return to DCA at any time though & take the Metro back to the hotel.) I checked Hertz for example, and it would run about $40-45 for a one-way rental of a mid-size car (including $11 for an infant seat) for 1 day. This is probably about $20 or so less than what a taxi from IAD would cost.

As for taxis, I don't have kids, so I can't say if it's entirely "normal." On the other hand, I have seen people with small kids hail a taxi, so it can't be entirely abnormal either.

Almost all (if not all) US states have laws regarding child restraints in cars, but in most cases taxis are exempted from them. DC taxi law says that the cab must allow you to install your infant seat in their car, but they don't have to provide the seat to you.
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Old Jan 2, 11, 1:41 pm
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Washington Flyer Metro shuttle + Metro

The Flyer coach to Metro is $10 each, but it has roomy seats--you should never have to stand--and luggage storage in a separate compartment underneath. I assume they don't charge for under-$2 kids, although their site doesn't say so. The 5A Metro bus costs less, at $6 each, but you may wind up standing and you'll have to fit your luggage on the floor or in a small overhead rack. I wouldn't do that with our own five-month-old in the traveling party.

The Flyer bus runs every 30 minutes (:15 and :45 past the hour, departing from Door 4 of the main terminal), while Metro runs on 15-minute headways on Sunday afternoons. You could wind up sitting and waiting... but that could happen in a cab on I-66 into D.C. too, even on a Sunday afternoon. Metro takes 21 minutes from West Falls Church to McPherson Square with no transfers, after which you'd have about a five-block walk to your hotel. It sounds like you're traveling light, so I assume that last hike won't be an issue.

Taxi fare should run you at least $60, more if it's a "snow emergency." If you do go that route, my wife just suggested that you look into renting only a car seat from one of the car-rental firms at the airport.

One other tip: The restaurant at the Doubletree Hotel next door to the Holiday Inn, 15 Ria, is a lot better than the description "hotel restaurant" might suggest. Here's the Post's review of the place.

Good luck! Enjoy the trip...
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Old Jan 2, 11, 4:05 pm
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Originally Posted by DCA writer View Post
The Flyer coach to Metro is $10 each, but it has roomy seats--you should never have to stand--and luggage storage in a separate compartment underneath. I assume they don't charge for under-$2 kids, although their site doesn't say so. The 5A Metro bus costs less, at $6 each, but you may wind up standing and you'll have to fit your luggage on the floor or in a small overhead rack. I wouldn't do that with our own five-month-old in the traveling party.

The Flyer bus runs every 30 minutes (:15 and :45 past the hour, departing from Door 4 of the main terminal), while Metro runs on 15-minute headways on Sunday afternoons. You could wind up sitting and waiting... but that could happen in a cab on I-66 into D.C. too, even on a Sunday afternoon. Metro takes 21 minutes from West Falls Church to McPherson Square with no transfers, after which you'd have about a five-block walk to your hotel. It sounds like you're traveling light, so I assume that last hike won't be an issue.
DCA writer has given some good information of the Bus Metro Option. I will add some "soft" information.

Last Spring I took the Flyer Bus and caught the Metro. Although the experience was not terrible it took so long I decided I would never do it again. First it took me 10 minutes to track down exactly where the bus left from due in part to confusing directions and the complicated multilevel configuration they have a DCA. Then there was a long wait at DCA for the bus. I was told it would arrive in 10 minutes... it was nearly 25 minutes coming. The bus sat there for another 15 minutes or more apparently waiting for passengers. Perhaps because of this delay I missed the metro connection and had to wait another 25 minutes... then had to change metro lines when we got to DC... another 20 minute delay.

All in all nearly three hours from when I had my luggage to when I walked in the front door of my hotel. And that was without much luggage or a baby.

Next time I took a taxi.
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Old Jan 5, 11, 6:02 am
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Depending on what your budget is and what you are willing to pay for / not wiling to pay for, one other option would be car service. You could try the Red Top Sedan Service (Red Top is a local taxi service that also has separate car/sedan/sub service).

I have used them myself although not with my kids so I assume you could request an SUV driver that has a car seat, but can't promise. It would probably be ~$100 maybe $120 to have a driver with a name card meet you at baggage claim and take you from Dulles to Downtown.

A little bit of a luxury, but when travelling with children it might be worth it.

Their phone number is below

+1 (703) 522-3300
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Old Jan 5, 11, 6:07 am
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After all the information here, I contacted the iadgroundtransportation [at] mwaa.com email address and they advised me that:

Child car seats are available upon request. When you arrive simply ask a taxi dispatcher to provide you with one. No reservation is necessary.

XXXXX
Landside Contract Management Division
Washington Dulles International Airport
Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
So maybe i was over-complicating all along? Looks like we can get a cab with a child seat on request at the airport.

q.
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Old Jan 6, 11, 10:24 am
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Originally Posted by qwertyuiop View Post
So maybe i was over-complicating all along? Looks like we can get a cab with a child seat on request at the airport.

q.
I think you might have to wait a bit for one with a car seat to arrive.

However, I've seen people holding their child in the back of taxis in DC and it's not a huge deal (that said, my wife refused to allow us to do it).

We ended up buying the Tote-and-Go portable booster seat: http://www.amazon.com/SAFETY-Tote-22.../dp/B0007VU4KI

(it seems to be out of stock, but I'm sure there's other options). This might not be good for a 5-month-old, though.

Good luck and enjoy DC!
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Old Jan 6, 11, 3:38 pm
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If you're doing taxi -- I'd call Red Top and check with them, I think they'd be much more reliable than Wash Flyer to get you that car seat (but call first to ensure they provide the service). They are more professional in how they manage their cars, as opposed to the Wash Flyer service which is essentially a bunch of independent contractors under the Wash Flyer banner who pick up rides as they want to.

If you're open to the car rental and return it, I'd recommend going that route. The rental agencies definitely have car seats you can rent for the day trip. If you need to run out for anything that first day, you'd have the car - return it at night to avoid having to worry about parking and you're done. Even if you brought it back to DCA, getting back into DC via metro is simple (with or without the baby at that point).
G'Luck
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Old Sep 22, 16, 7:39 pm
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Originally Posted by gtownguy View Post
...
Another option is Super Shuttle: www.washfly.com/super_shuttle.htm
....
I don't recommend Super Shuttle if you have a kid.

I just flew back home into Dulles a week ago with my wife, 3 year old daughter, my wife's parents, and a lot of luggage from my overseas trip. I needed a ride to my house in Burtonsville MD which is 38 miles away. From Dubai I booked a Supershuttle for $100 something for a direct ride, but didn't see anything mentioned for the car seat. After the reservation was done I emailed asking what about the car seat since that wasn't even brought up during the reservation process. Then I spent way too many messages going back and forth with them over a crappy wifi on the flight about the car seat. I was seeing online that it wasn't needed for commercial vehicles, at least in Maryland. But they were giving me a mix of canned responses or just unhelpful ones. What was bugging me was that I was trying to tell them that I was pretty sure I didn't need it, and they were saying, "it's up to state." I don't know why they couldn't just do the extra step and confirm with me on what they wanted to do. I was scared I'd get to them and they would say, "oh you don't have a car seat, we can't help you."

I tried to call SuperShuttle one last time to see if they still wanted to do it without a car seat and again on the phone, they said it's the law to have a child restrained.

Finally I just requested a refund and called Washington Flyer once I landed. They said their taxi guy will have one but who picked me up didn't. But he loaded us up and started taking us home - which again, I was ok with.

Even better, our taxi van dropped all of us off to Burtonsville, MD (38 miles away) for $90-something so it ended up being cheaper than Super Shuttle.
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Old Sep 23, 16, 4:52 am
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Im honestly kind of surprised that Super Shuttle is still in existence...
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Old Sep 24, 16, 4:11 pm
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I live in DC. It's legal to transport a child in a cab without a car seat in all three local jurisdictions (DC, Virginia, Maryland). I think it's smart not to rent a car -- parking downtown is difficult and/or expensive. Once you are in the city, you are very central and it's easy to get around by bus or metro. Download one of the apps to track realtime transit arrivals (I like NextBus DC).

From where you are staying, go north on 14th street for a fun bar/restaurant strip (14th north of P, and up to U street and all along U).

You are an easy walk to the Smithsonian museums. If you like space stuff, you should check out the solar system map on the mall: http://voyagesolarsystem.org/

The zoo is also a great place to visit.

Weather in late January can be cold; it can also be really, really cold. Be prepared for the high to not break freezing point. We've also had years where the high for January days runs closer to -10C. There are plenty of indoor attractions -- all of the Smithsonian museums, which are all free, but be warned that not all are really really close to transit. You may have to walk 5-10 minutes, so you'll need the right gear to keep baby warm (and yourselves).

There's a brand new museum of African American history which has just opened (although know that Jan 16 is the Martin Luther King day holiday -- I'd predict large crowds at the museum if you are in town that weekend). The National Gallery of Art is very nice and has a couple of nice cafes, likewise the Portrait Gallery, which has a huge indoor atrium/cafe (I used to go there with my baby when I was on maternity leave).

If you are looking for uniquely DC foods, check out Ethiopian or El Salvadoran, two large local immigrant populations.
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