Short layover Washington - Charlottesville
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Jul 9, 2012 7:59 AM Last Post By: pizwat
Jul 8, 2012 3:34 AM
I'm trying to book tickets to fly from the UK to Charlottesville. The best flight has a short layover time in Washington of just over an hour to get the connecting flight. Is this long enough? I'm worried that we will just be bumped onto the next flight and end up in the airport for hours. Is an hour long enough? I've had this in the past where i've booked tickets and then been told the layover time is too short so dont want that to happen either! Anyone had experience of this?
Jul 8, 2012 5:11 AM
1I assume you are flying into Dulles as opposed to the other two DC airports (Reagan National and BWI), since you are coming from overseas. Dulles has these weird shuttles that take you from gate to gate---my experience is they have a tendency to be backed-up since they can take only a limited number of people. One hour is a reasonable amount of time, and you will probably be fine, but there is a bit of a risk of getting stuck.
Note---Dulles is not near the city center of Washington DC, so if you do miss your connection, you are more or less stuck at the airport.
Jul 8, 2012 5:12 AM
Jul 8, 2012 7:05 AM
Jul 8, 2012 7:45 AM
Jul 8, 2012 8:48 AM
5Yes, I would also recommend driving. The plane to Charlottesville will be small, and in my opinion, uncomfortable especially in bad weather. It sucks to get on one of these after a long-haul. If flights need to be cancelled, these short hops are often the first to go.
If you do decide to fly, an hour is frequently not enough for the transfer. I would aim for 2 hours.
Jul 8, 2012 12:58 PM
6Can't imagine someone saying you'd be fine with one hour connection for an internatinal arrival. You'll go through Immigration first, then get your bags, then go through Customs (usually just a matter of handing over a formyou got and filled out on board the plane and had initialed at Immigration, but you could get pulled aside for secondary inspection), then, as described, handing over checked bags to a transit desk for your next flight, then likely going through security again to get to the gate of the next flight. I'd want 2 hours min. I can't imagine any airline Web site showing one hour as a valid connection. Are you purchasing the second flight separately? In that case, you may need to check in with that second airline with your bags, making for an even longer time (though if you show your full itinerary when you check in for your first flight they would hopefully tag your bags for Charlottesville). If you're entering the U.S. at another airport, then going to Dulles, a one hour connection should suffice assuming your bags would be checked through.
Charlottesville could be a 2-hour drive without traffic. Hopefully there wouldn't be a one-way rental involved (you'd be flying back from Dulles in that case?). Flight from Dulles to Charlottesville could be on a turbopop.
Jul 8, 2012 2:41 PM
7If you are flying in from the UK, you will be landing at Dulles. During the 11 years that I lived in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washingron DC, I flew in and out of Dulles many times (both domestic and international), and still do so on occasion. In your circmstances, a one-hour connection through Dulles is well, the kindest word is "certifiable". Two to three hours to clear immigration - presumably as a non-US citizen - and re-check baggage would almost certainly not be enough, especially if you arrive at a crowded period and have to take the "cattle cars".
The suggestions about driving to Charlottesville don't really take into consideration that you'd probably be too tired after an international flight, might not have a driver's license, and even if you did, you might not want to drive on the right side of the road - especially in the Washington DC traffic which I assure you requires fortutide even for American drivers.
Also, It's misleading to say that it's a two-hour drive to Charlottesville from Dulles - it would take this little only if the roads were deserted. But it can take much two hours or more longer just to clear the city traffic (I commuted daily for 11 years from points west to a workplace two miles up Route 28 from Dulles, and still drive to my company's office there from time to time, so I do know what the traffic is like here.). It IS true that once you get out of the city traffic, it is a lovely drive through the Northern Virginia hunt country to Charlottesville.
Your options here aren't too great. Might consider a much longer connection - can even consider spending the night at a motel (of which there are many nearby) and connecting through to Charlottesville the next day.
Or if you do decide to drive - would suggest timing it so that you drive out to Charlottesville on a Sunday morning - this will be the least traffic out.
I do not know of any public ground transportation options.
Jul 8, 2012 4:02 PM
8I have made this drive a few times, leaving the DC area between rush hours of 10AM and 3Pm is normally fine, or after 7pm ish. It will take about 2 hours or more, but with a 3 hour layover and then a flight, whats the difference time wise. I usually take the long way for the nice 2 lane roads, a tad longer but nice.
Jul 8, 2012 4:35 PM
Jul 9, 2012 1:31 AM
10Unfortunately, I wouldn't recommend Amtrak- you will need an hour minimum to get back into the city, service is somewhat spotty from DC-Charlottesville, and then there's the expense: an $80+ cab ride, somewhat cheaper (but slower) SuperShuttle or the Metrobus (cheapest, but slowest/most uncomfortable option).
Depending on your stamina, driving is not a bad option. Leaving from Dulles, you'll miss the worst part of DC traffic, which is inside the Beltway. Most of the drive will be country roads. Be sure to get a car with GPS if you do elect this route. As someone who's gone from left-hand driving to right-hand driving fairly frequently, I can assure you it's not as scary as it seems!
Jul 9, 2012 5:04 AM
OP, it's too short. Even if you make it, you'll be constantly stressed about making it.
I think flying to DC and driving would be your best option. You'll want a car in the area anyway, and the drive can be quite nice.
Jul 9, 2012 5:08 AM
12I don't think there are any flights from Europe to BWI any more.
Jul 9, 2012 5:47 AM
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