Popular discount airline Virgin America has filed an application with the Department of Transportation to begin to daily nonstop flights from San Francisco to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) later this year. UPDATE: Air Canada, Alaska, JetBlue and Southwest have all announced that they too want to go to Washington Reagan.
Virgin America, headquartered in the Bay Area, already flies into Washington Dulles (IAD) which is a key market for international flights as Dulles is served by a host of international carriers including Virgin America’s UK cousin, Virgin Atlantic.
Washington Reagan vs. Dulles: What’s the Difference?
Many domestic travelers, though, prefer the convenience of flying into Washington Reagan since it is just 3 miles from downtown Washington, D.C. (compared to 26 miles for Washington Dulles) plus Reagan has its own dedicated Metrorail (subway) stop.
Virgin America Says Airfare Will Drop
Virgin America claims when it enters a market, airfares drop – and says it saw prices drop by over one-third (at least initially) on flights from San Francisco to Chicago O’Hare and from San Francisco to Dallas-Ft. Worth when it entered those markets.
The airline further claims that since it began flying in 2007, average airfare costs for San Francisco-based travelers have dropped about 18 percent.
Flights to Washington Reagan Could Begin in Summer
If Virgin Atlantic wins approval from the DOT, it expects to begin flights to Reagan this summer, with morning and evening departures.
Virgin America currently flies in and out of Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Ft. Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Palm Springs, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington Dulles plus Los Cabos, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and, as of April 4, Philadelphia.