The Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI) is located in the Maryland state in the southside suburbs of Baltimore (approximately 30 minutes to Baltimore Downtown) and at 35 miles northeast of Washington. BWI airport is the largest by the number of passengers of the three airports delivering the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area (the two others being Ronal Reagan National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport) with more than 25 million passengers in 2016. It’s still not one of the world’s busiest airport (75th busiest airport) and event not in the US (23rd busiest airport). But BWI still have secrets to unveiled...
The history of BWI's name
The airport has had 3 names since its inauguration in 1950. The airport was built on a land that used to belong to the Friendship Methodist Church. This is why during the inauguration by the president Truman, the airport has been named Friendship International Airport . 20 years later, in 1973, the airport was renamed after Baltimore-Washington International airport in order to attract new passengers from the Washington area.
It’s in 2005 that the BWI airport has been renamed (again!) in memory of Baltimore’s native Thurgood Marshall who was the first african-american ever to have a position at the Supreme Court of the United States.
The observation gallery
This is one of the most surprising and amazing thing to do in this airport. If you have time to waste and you don't have passed the security yet, don't hesitate to drop by this lounge/museum. The observation gallery is a place where are displayed parts of airplanes and even a rocket provided to the airport by the NASA. Moreover there is a huge picture window from where you can have a wonderful view on the planes ballet on the tarmac. Moreover BWI provides binocular you can use to have a closer look at the planes. Of course you will find relaxing seats in front of the window where you will be able to relax before taking of.
BWI Airport Station
BWI airport has created a train station in 1980 near the airport. The purpose of this train station was to be able to reach Baltimore and Washington in an easy and fast way directly from BWI airport. The MARK train is the train that passes through the airport station and that used to join Baltimore and Washington before the creation of the BWI station. From there, you can reach Washington (Union station) in 45 minutes and Baltimore (Penn Station) in 15 minutes. Moreover the airport has put into place a free shuttle service that take you from the terminals to the station or from the station to the terminals.
You may not know that, but Southwest Airlines is THE airline at BWI airport. In fact, they represent more than 70% of market share at BWI compared to other airlines with more than 16 millions of passengers. What is funny and very particular for an international airport is that southwest airlines is a national airline that nearly exclusively serve national destination. Still, they recently expended to the international but to destination that are very close to the United-States such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Caribbean islands ...
BWI bike trail
BWI airport has partnered up with the company Zangster in 1994 to create a 12.5 miles outdoor bike trail that surround the airport property. For those who have time to waste at the airport and don't know what to do, don't hesitate to rent a bike and go have some fun on this original and unique trail. You can rent a bike for 5$ at the Terminal E. On a side note, BWI airport was the first US airport to offer its visitor such a hiker/biker trail.
And don't forget, TravelCar has a secured and cheap parking solution at BWI airport.