Ronald Reagan National Airport is located four miles southwest of Washington, D.C. and is a popular airport for legislators and government officials travelling between Washington and their home districts.
It opened as Washington National Airport in 1941, just before the U.S.'s entry into World War 1. Designed by architect Cesar Pelli, the airport incorprated state-of-the-art standards in air and ground traffic control, traveller comfort, and convenience. At the same time, Pelli incorporated architectural references to the Capitol's Neoclassical style and the popular Colonial style reminiscent of nearby Mt. Vertnon. Among its most notable design features is an observation terrace providing visitors a spectacular view of the airfield and airport operations. Pelli's design also included a large window overlooking airport operations and the Washington, D.C. skyline. At the time, the airport's modern functionality and historic aesthetic attracted over two million visitors during its first year. First-year passengers totalled 344.000.
On February 6, 1998, President William Jefferson Clinton signed into law the bill introduced and passed in Congress that changed the name of Washington National Airport to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Today the three-level, one-million square foot terminal houses 35 aircraft gates and “National Hall,” an area featuring shops and eateries on the concourse level. The terminal has 100 ticket counters and 12 baggage claims. The airfield contains three runways. In 2016, Reagan National reached a record of 23.6 million annual passengers.
To accommodate the modern traveler, Reagan National today offers lounges, charging stations, free WiFi, an interfaith chapel, nursing rooms, pet relief areas and designated smoking areas outside the terminal.