Flights to Washington overview
Going searches for the best fares and sends members deals bookable 1-12 months in advance. Going members save approximately 35% compared to normal flight prices to Washington.
Cheapest Going deal
Average price roundtrip
Average Going deal price roundtrip
Best month to fly
Going found the most deals with travel dates in April.
Worst month to fly
Going found the least deals with travel dates in July.
Top tips for finding a cheap flight to Washington
Book in the Goldilocks Window
While we maintain that there’s no specific day of the week when airline tickets are cheapest, there is a window in advance of your trip where you’re likely to find the best deals. We call this just-right time the Goldilocks Window. For domestic flights, it means booking 1–3 months before a trip. For international trips you have more time––about 2–8 months ahead of a trip.
That said, if you plan to travel during peak season or if you’re traveling for an event and can’t be flexible on your dates, we recommend planning even further in advance. If, for example, you're looking to vacation in DC during the Cherry Blossom Festival in April, you should start looking for flights around January. Also, last-minute deals are rare during busy travel seasons, with fare jumps happening 21, 14, and 7 days in advance. Book before those points if you can.
Use the Greek Islands Trick
Even if you’re watching fares like a hawk, some flights never seem to get any cheaper. This can be especially true during busy seasons. Before you give up on DC in the summer though, try our Greek Islands Trick. It’s named after a trick to get you to the Greek Islands via another major city or hub, like London, but it works all over the world.
If you really want to fly from Los Angeles to DC for a summer trip, you could be looking at a price tag of $500 or more. Instead, check out fares to Baltimore, Boston, or even New York City, which could be much cheaper. Pair that with a train or bus ticket to DC, and you’ve just saved yourself some cash you can put toward a great meal in the capital.
The goal is to find the cheapest flight you can from Los Angeles that gets you to the East Coast or within a few hours of DC. Then, book a bus, train, rental car, or sometimes even a cheap flight on another airline between those two destinations. Sometimes, the savings are worth the extra legwork.
Search alternative departure airports
This is like the Greek Islands trick but on the departure side. Let’s use the LA example again. If you live in LA, you probably don’t search for flights out of other cities often. Why would you when you have a large, extensive airport right there? However, there’s a chance you could fly out of San Diego or Las Vegas and save a bunch of money. You’d just need to get yourself from LA to San Diego or Vegas on a short flight, bus or train ride, or even by driving.
We see cheap fares from all sorts of airports big and small; if you’re only looking at your home airport, you could miss out. Check airports within driving or public transit distance, and see if you can find an amazing deal before spending a ton of money on a flight out of LA.
Fly when it’s cheaper
Summer is one of the busiest travel seasons around the US, and DC is no exception. However, lots of people wanting to travel during a specific timeframe means airlines can charge more for tickets.
If you can be flexible with your travel dates, you’re more likely to find cheap flights. Shoulder seasons––the period on either side of a destination’s high and low season––are a great time to travel because you get lower prices than peak season but typically better weather than low season. For DC, that’s early March and September–November. January and February are even cheaper if you don’t mind a bit of cold.
If you have to travel during peak seasons, at least try to avoid traveling on Fridays and Sundays, which are the most expensive days to fly. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are the cheapest.
Set alerts for specific trips
As frequent travelers know, flight alerts are your best friend. They help you keep track of airfare as it fluctuates, saving you time and the agony of missing a great deal.
Set an alert for any specific itinerary you’re looking at, being sure to set alerts for multiple dates and airports if you’re flexible. Do this well in advance of your trip, before the Goldilocks Window we talked about above, so you can see prices drop during that time.
DC has three airports and can be reached from most major cities around the world with one stop or less. More than 60 international cities fly into Dulles, and between the three airports, most of the US is covered. Your flight options are plentiful in DC, even if the airports aren’t the busiest in the country.
Frequently asked questions about flying to Washington
When is high season in DC?
Like much of the US, June–August is high season in DC. Kids are out of school and families travel to see the Smithsonian museums and monuments. Late-March and April can also be busy due to the spring flowers and Cherry Blossom Festival.
When is the best time to visit DC?
DC is fun to visit year-round and always has something going on. However, it can get very hot and muggy in July and August. The best times to visit are from March–May and September–November. You’ll get beautiful spring and fall weather, stunning foliage (cherry blossoms in the spring and colorful leaves in the fall), and avoid peak tourist season. If you don’t mind a bit of cold weather, you can find great deals in January and February.
How many airports are there in DC?
There are three airports serving the DC area. Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA), Dulles International Airport (IAD), and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). Domestic travelers often fly into DCA, while international tourists usually fly into IAD. Reagan airport is the closest to the city and connected to it by metro. Dulles and BWI have shuttle buses and taxis and are located about 40–45 minutes from DC.
Which airport is the closest to DC?
Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) is the closest airport to the city. It’s only about four miles away, depending on where in the city you’re going; without traffic, it’s less than a 10-minute drive to Downtown DC or Capitol Hill. A taxi should be anywhere from $12–20. You can also reach the city via the Metro. The Blue and Yellow lines connect to the airport.
How long is the flight to DC?
If you’re flying from anywhere on the East Coast to DC, from Chicago or Detroit, or from Atlanta, your flight will be 1–2 hours. From New Orleans, Texas, and elsewhere in the South, it can be 2–3.5 hours. From the West Coast, it’s 4-5 hours.
Visitors from Europe can expect an 8–10 hour flight. Flights from Asia can be 12–24 hours depending on the connection, and flights from Kenya, South Africa, and elsewhere in Africa can be 20–30 hours.
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* Prices are per person and include all taxes & fees in USD. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing, however, prices are not guaranteed, as airline pricing can change by the minute. Average Going fares are based on average prices of deals found by Going.