Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

A way to make Dulles appeal to DC fliers...

A way to make Dulles appeal to DC fliers...

Old Jul 8, 17, 9:32 am
  #1  
Original Poster
Marriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: DC Area
Programs: 1K; Bonvoy Ambassador; Nat'l EE; Hertz PC; Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 2,274
A way to make Dulles appeal to DC fliers...

I've you've ever flown into Munich, undoubtedly you've seen the Lufthansa branded busses around the shuttle area upon exiting the terminal, and the same goes for Korean Air at ICN. These airlines have adopted a great strategy to get customers to/from the airport when public transit has somewhat failed, isn't convenient, or quick. A bus service they brand, allow for seamless travel, and reward customers.

Every person I know in DC who travels regularly avoids Dulles like the plague. This is for many reasons, the biggest being that the cost to get there in an Uber/lyft/taxi is high, the time is too long, there's still lots of additional time needed once you actually get there (checking bags, time to get to gate/club), etc.

How great would it be if United had two pickup points in the DC, Union Station and somewhere in foggy bottom perhaps, allowing metro access from both Maryland and Virginia. Allowed one to check bags, get boarding passes, maybe even a lounge for premium passengers?

Then you board the bus, with free wifi, PQM and RDM credit (500 miles of course), and a straight shot to IAD. Dropped off at a dedicated area, with quick access to security including clear and Pre, and we're quickly off to the gate. Sell it all as a connection just like they do with Amtrak today, only much smoother. This is what I envision.

One can check bags at Tokyo station for any airline, why can't United invest in this? Truly this would change my perception of the Dulles experience (save for the long amount of time it takes to get TO the gate, which I hope United invests in too).

For arriving passengers, the same goes. Departures on the :15 hour or :30 hour. A dedicated lounge in the lower part of IAD, and through connections.

It's something that a lot of people would value and I feel that United at IAD is unique more than any other airline in the country at any other airport because the concentration and frustration of DC O&D passengers is so unique.

This idea was hatched up by myself and @uva185 a few weeks ago over happy hour after complaining about IAD for an hour.
nevansm is offline  
Old Jul 8, 17, 9:37 am
  #2  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 91,824
Another example is the AirFrance airport buses in Paris.

SAS might have some buses too (Copenhagen?).
MSPeconomist is offline  
Old Jul 8, 17, 9:50 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: DEN
Programs: UA 1MM, MP 1K, Hilton Gold, Marriott Gold
Posts: 375
I was always happy with the bus from the Rosslyn Metro Station when visiting DC and using Dulles.
FlyfromDenver is offline  
Old Jul 8, 17, 10:00 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: ORD
Programs: United 100K, Etihad Gold, Marriot Platinum, Hilton Gold
Posts: 514
Icelandair does this at KEF. If you reserve ahead of time you just go straight to the shuttle area and they take you to your hotel. Its quite an operation, shuttling you on a large bus to a small bus station in Reykavik, then shuttle everyone off to their hotels.

Isn't IAD supposed to get train access soon, or is it going to be highly delayed and suck?
steveo is offline  
Old Jul 8, 17, 10:10 am
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: ORD
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 16,567
Only solves part of the problem. I only ever transfer at IAD and still to everything I can to avoid that hell hole.
milepig is offline  
Old Jul 8, 17, 10:12 am
  #6  
TA
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: if it's Thursday, this must be Belgium
Programs: UA 1K MM
Posts: 6,210
Interesting idea, but how would UA deal with the demand? If they made it a small time operation they might get swamped with how many people would want a service like this. Or maybe make it reservations-required service? I have no confidence that they would want to operate a probably loss-making operation like this, or acquire the additional liability of it...

They would also get yelled at by the taxi lobby in DC.

Btw, the train (if it ever finishes) will take about 15 stops from downtown to get to Dulles. Hardly the high speed link one hopes for in reasonably advanced cities.
TA is offline  
Old Jul 8, 17, 10:20 am
  #7  
Original Poster
Marriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: DC Area
Programs: 1K; Bonvoy Ambassador; Nat'l EE; Hertz PC; Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 2,274
While there is the existing bus service, the lack of integration and the fact that it's in Rosslyn as opposed to DC is frustrating for DC people.

Silver Line will eventually be completed, but it'll still take at least an hour from Union Station.

My main point here is that the integration is the key part. Make it seamless and people will love it.
nevansm is offline  
Old Jul 8, 17, 10:37 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Washington, DC (DCA)
Programs: UA, AA, AS, SPG.
Posts: 3,463
The idea is you have to book the bus as part of your United itinerary so the fare would be slightly higher but it would be fully integrated into your itinerary. Ideally you would go through TSA at a city office and then get dropped off air-side at Dulles. If TSA didn't go for that, you'd still check your bags at the city office and get dropped off at a dedicated security checkpoint for bus passengers at Dulles. Luggage would be transferred automatically in both directions.

The Metro to Dulles is a complete joke. There are a million stops and the Dulles metro station isn't even connected to the airport. You'll have to take a shuttle.
uva185 is offline  
Old Jul 8, 17, 11:01 am
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Benicia CA
Programs: Alaska MVP Gold 75K, AA 3.8MM, UA 1.1MM, enjoying the retired life
Posts: 31,758
Originally Posted by FlyfromDenver View Post
I was always happy with the bus from the Rosslyn Metro Station when visiting DC and using Dulles.
It's $7.50 now, plus whatever Metro fare you'll pay to your final destination. I came in from Dulles a few days ago and took the Washington Flyer bus to the silver line ($5, about 15 mins), connecting to Metro to Pentagon City ($3.85 off peak), and it was a much nicer ride in than taking the 5A bus. Only came in from that direction because of a cheaper award ticket than DCA (flew home from there).

Bus service, particularly during peak commute hours, seems to be a big negative to me. The last thing I want is to be stuck in traffic with everyone else wondering if I'll make my flight. I always allowed an extra hour or two on the 5A bus to allow for accidents or congestion. I'd have to do the same with any airline-provided shuttle bus service.

Originally Posted by TA View Post
Btw, the train (if it ever finishes) will take about 15 stops from downtown to get to Dulles. Hardly the high speed link one hopes for in reasonably advanced cities.
That's actually less stops than it takes me to get to SFO on BART. I don't mind the journey and plan around it with reading material or video. If you want to take public transportation, it's just a concession you make in the U.S. The subway in Manhattan out to JFK isn't any different.
tom911 is offline  
Old Jul 8, 17, 11:05 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 575
Do business travelers want to take a bus like this?
flyerbaby19 is offline  
Old Jul 8, 17, 11:12 am
  #11  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PHX/SFO
Programs: AA EXP; AS 75K; WN A List; UA 1K 1MM; Hyatt Globalist; Marriott AMB; Hilton Diamond (Aspire)
Posts: 45,772
But the UA terminals would still be overcrowded, decrepit hell holes.
Kacee is offline  
Old Jul 8, 17, 11:12 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: DMV
Posts: 2,023
I don't know how even that service would outweigh the advantages of DCA for domestic travelers. A suburban airport can't compete with a downtown airport if the downtown airport provides extensive services. LHR prospers rather than LCY because LCY doesn't offer a lot of services - if LCY offered as much as DCA did then LHR would also somewhat struggle in relation as far as short-haul travel is concerned.

IAD is an airport for people who need to travel overseas (such as myself) and I don't mind it as that. If you don't use UA and thus avoid the crappy concourse(s), it's actually quite pleasant.

The only way to make IAD a preferred domestic option would be to reduce the DCA service significantly. In Europe this likely would have been done already for environmental and noise reasons. But in DC's case it's a long shot given that the government types in Congress and the departments love the 10-15 minute cab ride to the airport.
Ber2dca is offline  
Old Jul 8, 17, 11:27 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: DCA
Programs: UA 1K; *G and *A Top 1000; HHonors Diamond; *$ Gold; Global Entry
Posts: 1,836
Uber into DC from IAD only runs about $40 at non surge pricing. I also find the Silver Line Connection bus to Wiehle Reston East quite easy.
sannmann is offline  
Old Jul 8, 17, 11:28 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: LHR (sometimes CLE, SFO, BOS, LAX, SEA)
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 5,813
Originally Posted by nevansm View Post
While there is the existing bus service, the lack of integration and the fact that it's in Rosslyn as opposed to DC is frustrating for DC people.
There have also been some recent service cuts to that beloved 5A bus (not sure what the best source is -- http://wtop.com/tracking-metro-24-7/...lines/slide/1/ perhaps . Following up from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...les-bus-route/ , https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...bus-to-dulles/ ).

Originally Posted by nevansm View Post
Silver Line will eventually be completed, but it'll still take at least an hour from Union Station.
Yeah the Silver Line is actually really nice. The stations have RESTROOMS. Such luxury. Too bad about that last paid-shuttle-bus hop to Wiehle-Reston, but it's SO CLOSE.
mherdeg is offline  
Old Jul 8, 17, 11:29 am
  #15  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 69,204
Originally Posted by nevansm View Post
One can check bags at Tokyo station for any airline, why can't United invest in this?
It is possible at HKG, too. The other examples provided in this thread (AF, SK, FI, etc. are 3rd party operations and not fully integrated into the travel experience (checked bags, etc.).

But it will never happen in DC. Mostly because assuming the liability for delayed passengers on the bus connection is not something UA wants to deal with. There are also challenges around secure transport of the baggage, though those can be addressed slightly more easily. And the part where DCA is a flourishing airport with more annual pax than IAD (23.6mm v 21.9mm).

The places where things like this work have far more reliable ground transit infrastructure. The US doesn't bother to invest in such things so it doesn't get to have them.
sbm12 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: