Washington jet-setters now have a full slate of exciting new options for non-stop travel out of the D.C. area. Several international carriers have chosen 2012 as their year to get acquainted with Washingtonians, while some of the old standbys are adding new destinations–international and domestic–to their schedules.
If you fly out of Dulles Airport, there might be a fjord in your future. That’s because Icelandair is back in the Washington region after a four-year absence. This time, instead of flying out of Baltimore-Washington International (BWI), it’s flying out of Dulles. During the summer, Icelandair has six flights a week to Reykjavik. This is an airline known for offering long-weekend deals, as the flight is less than six hours. Keep an eye on its website, particularly during non-peak travel months.
There is good news for United MileagePlus members, who can rack up plenty of points on the airline’s three international routes introduced this spring. United Airlines now flies a daily non-stop to Dublin, Ireland, to Manchester, England, and to Doha, Qatar.
If you have a hankering for seven-star hotels and a yen to see the tallest building in the world, enjoy a far-flung exotic adventure via Emirates. The highly rated Middle Eastern carrier inaugurates its daily non-stop service from Dulles to Dubai on Sept. 12. Flying Emirates, you don’t have to wait until you touch down to enjoy the good life. Business and first-class passengers have access to free onboard lounges, while those in the front of the plane can also enjoy refreshment, thanks to state-of-the-art shower spas. And this just in: if you book business class before July 5, you can save $1,000.
If you feel like a shorter hop, Porter Airlines may be just the ticket. This top-rated Canadian carrier started flying between Dulles and Toronto City Airport in April. There are now four flights each way each day. Passengers receive such perks as access to premium passenger lounges, along with free wine, beer and snacks on board.
South of the border, AeroMexico launched a daily non-stop from Dulles to Mexico City in May. If you want to get a bit of that Latin flavor without leaving U.S. territory, opt for JetBlue’s new non-stop service from Reagan National (DCA) to San Juan, Puerto Rico, beginning Aug. 23. DCA to San Juan? What gives, you say? Besides upgrading the air traffic control system, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 grants slots for eight new non-stops between DCA and destinations beyond the airport’s normal 1,250-mile perimeter. In particular, that’s a sweetheart deal for Washingtonians looking to travel to California. There are several new non-stops to the West Coast, including a daily American flight to Los Angeles and a daily United flight to San Francisco. US Airways starts flying non-stop to San Diego in July, and Virgin America wings its way to San Francisco International (SFO) on Aug. 14.
Meantime, if you want to wander up the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, Condor Airlines is scheduled to begin twice-weekly, non-stop service between BWI and Frankfurt, Germany, in July. Condor tends to offer seats at lower fares than Lufthansa. For BWI, this is a needed addition to international offerings, as the airport’s only other European non-stop is British Airways to London. ?
Laura Powell, the Georgetowner’s new travel columnist, has been on the beat for 20 years. After covering travel for CNN, she has gone on to report for a wide variety of print, online and on-air outlets. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, National Geographic Traveler and USA Today. She often appears on WUSA and on NewsChannel 8 as a guest travel expert. More of Laura’s travel punditry can be found at www.dailysuitcase.com.