Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport Guide

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Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Aiport(BWI) is one of three major airports serving the Maryland and Washington, D.C. metropolitan area (along with Washington Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington, both in Virginia). Also drawing passengers from Virginia and Pennsylvania, BWI is the busiest airport in Maryland and a major hub for Southwest Airlines, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the airport’s commercial fliers. About 27 million passengers traveled through BWI during 2019.

With its strong Southwest connection and increasing flights via Spirit, Wowair, and Frontier Airlines, BWI offers more budget-friendly travel options than neighboring airports. The majority of its airlines serve domestic travelers, but nonstop, international flights between the UK, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and parts of Europe are also popular routes.

Baltimore/Washington International Airport Code, Location, and Contact Information

  • Code: BWI
  • Location: BWI is located 9 miles south of downtown Baltimore and 32 miles northeast of Washington D.C. at 7050 Friendship Rd, Baltimore, MD 21240. 
  • Website: www.bwiairport.com 
  • Phone Number: You can reach general customer service through (410) 859-7683 and airport information via (410) 859-7111 or (800) 435-9294. 
  • Tracking Information: Track arrivals and departures as well as air traffic through the airport website.

Know Before You Go

The airport has five interconnected concourses: A, B, C, D, and E. Concourse E is the international/swing terminal and (as of spring 2020) shares security with concourse D due to an ongoing expansion project. All ticketing counters are accessible via the upper level; the lower level includes baggage claim and some shopping and amenities. 

Fifteen commercial airlines operate across the five concourses. In addition to Southwest, which has a presence in A, B, C, and D (with its ticket counter located between A and B), here are the airlines that fly to BWI and the concourses where they are based:

  • Concourse A & B: Southwest Airlines
  • Concourse C: American Airlines, Contour Airlines 
  • Concourse D: Air Canada, Alaskan Airlines, Allegiant Air, Boutique Air, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southern Airways Express, Spirit
  • Concourse E: British Airways, Condor 


Check the interactive map on the BWI website for the full layout of airlines and services.

Parking

BWI is a fairly compact airport with five different types of parking options, so you won’t ever be short on spaces. You can monitor lot availability and get visual directions to each garage and the cell phone waiting lot via the parking section of the airport website.

Hourly: $4 per hour / $22 per day

This garage sits in the middle of the five concourses and offers walking access to departures and arrivals. Know your airline and its concourse so you can maximize efficiency by parking on the appropriate side of the garage. Level 5 is usually the busiest, since it connects to the skywalk that leads into the departure concourses, so look to lower levels during peak travel times.

Valet: $8 for an hour / $16 for 2 hours / $24 for 3 hours / $30 daily max

If you’re in a rush or want some extra comforts ahead of your flight (like water and luggage assistance), the valet option on Level 5 of the hourly garage gives you the most convenient access to the concourses and has its own express entry and exit lane.

Express: $10 per day

For single-day trips, express parking is the most economic bet. Shuttles come every 8-10 minutes (with longer headway between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.) and take you to your specific airline concourse.

Daily: $12 per day

If you prefer to have your car out of the sun or snow, the daily lot has the same service as the express lot, but in a covered garage.

Long-Term: $8 per day

These two open-air lots offer 10,000 spaces and the same shuttle frequency as express and daily parking. There are sheltered shuttle stops throughout each lot, so make a note of which lot (A or B) and which stop is closest to your car to avoid post-trip confusion.

Driving Directions

All routes to BWI involve at least one limited-lane highway notorious for traffic, construction, and standstills. As such, make sure to monitor traffic alerts before planning your journey and leave yourself plenty of time around rush hours. 

  • From Baltimore: Travel south on I-95 to I-195 East. 
  • From Washington D.C.: Take the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and MD-295 North.
  • From Pennsylvania: Take I-83 South to I-695 West to I-95 South to I-195 East. 
  • From Virginia: Travel north on I-95 to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

Public Transportation and Taxis

  • Rail: Apart from having a friend or family member drop you off, the cheapest way to get to and from BWI from Baltimore is the Light Rail ($1.90 each way), which takes you to Concourse E. You can also take the MARC/Amtrak train from Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Alexandria to the airport station and then jump on a free shuttle service to airline check-in counters. 
  • Buses: Buses into Maryland run from Concourses A and E, but they aren’t the most reliable form of transportation. Every hour between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. you can catch a BWI Express service from Greenbelt Metro Station in Washington D.C. 
  • Taxis: BWI has its own fleet of taxis, which are located on the lower level near baggage claim. They only do metered fares, so they’re best for shorter distances. 
  • Ride Sharing: Ubers and Lyfts are less common at BWI, but you can order one to normal passenger pick-up areas outside baggage claim on the lower level.

Where to Eat and Drink 

BWI doesn’t charge an airport premium on restaurant meals, and since concourses all the concourse are linked post-security, you have access to lots of choices wherever your gate may be.

Grab & Go:

  • Auntie Anne’s Pretzels (Concourses A, B, and D)
  • BGR The Burger Join (Concourse B)
  • Boar’s Head Deli (Concourse A)
  • Dunkin Donuts (Concourses B, C, and D)
  • Einstein’s Bros Bagels (Concourse C)
  • Ledo Pizza (Concourses B and C)
  • Potbelly Sandwich Shop (Concourses A and C)

Food Court (between concourses A and B):

  • Chick-Fil-A
  • Chipotle
  • Flying Dog Tap House
  • Jamba Juice
  • Silver Diner 
  • Pinkberry Yogurt 

Sit-Down Restaurants: 

  • Brix & Vine Wine Bar (Concourse D) 
  • Dunclaw Brewing Company (pre-security Concourse B)
  • Martini (Concourse A)
  • Obrycki’s Restaurant and Bar (Concourse B)
  • Sky Azure (pre-security observation deck)
  • Urban Bar-B-Que Company (Concourse C)

How to Spend Your Layover

BWI is only a 20-minute drive without traffic from downtown Baltimore, so depending on your layover timing, you can work around rush hours to explore the inner harbor, check out the main sights, or take in some of Baltimore’s gothic charm. It’s a much longer journey (and with even more traffic risks) to get to Washington D.C., so avoid attempting a quick city break unless you have a very long layover. For a shorter layover, you can still get some fresh air by renting a bike outside concourse E and navigating the 12.5-mile trail around the airport and nearby Dixon Park. 

BWI Tips and Tidbits  

  • Free Wi-Fi is available post-security throughout concourses and border control for arrivals (via the network _BWI Free WiFi), but it cuts out at baggage claim. 
  • If you’re feeling restless before or in between flights, check out ROAM fitness after security at concourses D and E. 
  • The full name of BWI (Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport) pays tribute to the first African American Supreme Court Justice and civil rights activist, Baltimore native Thurgood Marshall.
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