Back in 1933, the U.S. Constitution was amended to move the start of a presidential term from March 4 to Jan. 20 but because the date falls on a Sunday this year, the official inauguration of President Barack Obama will take place Monday, Jan. 21.
- Listen as airfare expert Rick Seaney guides you to cheap flights to D.C.
Inaugural Guide for Flyers
Usually, a private ceremony takes place Jan. 20 when the date is on a Sunday (as was the case with President Eisenhower in 1957 and President Reagan in 1985) but all the public pomp and circumstance will be on display Jan. 21. Don’t miss out. The following tips will help you get to Washington for less.
Finding Cheap Flights to Washington, D.C.
- Shop on Tuesday: Typically the best day to shop for airfare is Tuesday – about 3 p.m. eastern time. Airline sale typically launch late Monday or early Tuesday and by the afternoon, other carriers have matched sale prices to remain competitive. This is the time to shop.
- Look for Sales: January is a great time to travel because it’s smack in the middle of a dead zone - one of the cheapest times to fly. Check out the Deals Blog for sales or just shop FareCompare on Tuesday afternoon to see the best prices available.
- Beware of Blackout Dates: Some airlines sales black-out dates to popular destinations such as Washington, D.C., during the inaugural or New Orleans for the Super Bowl. Seek out alternate, nearby airports or travel outside the blacked-out dates.
- Compare Airports to Save: Even airports that are relatively close to each other can offer wildly varying airfares – another big reason to compare prices, not just for the days you want to fly, but for cities that are near your ultimate destination.
Washington, D.C., Airports and Airlines
Three airports serve the greater Washington, D.C., area: two D.C. airports and another in nearby Baltimore, any one of which can offer the cheapest airfare depending on the day/flight – so be sure to compare prices.
- Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD): This United hub is D.C.’s largest airport and is served by many international carriers including all the big U.S. airlines plus low-cost carriers such as AirTran, JetBlue Southwest and Virgin America. The airport is about 45 minutes from downtown Washington.
- Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA): A big advantage of this smaller airport is that it’s just three miles from downtown D.C. It is served by all of the airlines listed above, plus Alaska and Air Canada.
- Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI): Located just south of Baltimore (30 miles from D.C.), this airport is served by a smattering of international carriers, all the U.S. legacy airlines plus low-cost airlines AirTran, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest and Spirit.
Ground Transportation: Washington’s Reagan airport has handy Metro stops which make it easy to zip into the city; at Dulles, you can connect to the Metro via Metrobus. From Baltimore’s airport, travel to D.C. by bus or the MARC train which stops at Washington’s Union Station.
Find cheap flights: Find the cheapest flights to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration or any time, right here on FareCompare.