Let’s Rename Washington National Airport!

In my Tourist Guide to Washington DC (the most important things to know in a nutshell, I’ve lived here for 18 years), I wrote that:

  • You always want to fly into National airport (and not Dulles or Baltimore) when possible, all things (price, non-stop flights) equal.
  • Nobody calls it Reagan National.

This was a controversial claim, lots of discussion in the comments. I actually think it breaks down along the lines of how new you are to the area. It isn’t just tourists that call is Reagan, it’s also newbies.

The airport was re-named for Ronald Reagan as a part of Grover Norquist’s very successful pitch to make a lot of money from conservative donors campaign to rename something for Ronald Reagan in every state.

Now there’s a move to take away the name. And rename it for Tim Howard.

Whereas Tim Howard has shown himself to be a national treasure, Minister of Defense, Friend of Joe Biden, and the holder for the record of most saves in a World Cup match; Therefore, we politely request that we rename the airport to recognize his accomplishments, and meritorious service to the United States of America.

As of this writing there are 3000 signatures on the petition, which needs 100,000 for a response.

And since the U.S. has now lost I’d expect interest in this to fade quickly. Now if the U.S. had won… we might see the end to some expensive federal projects ironically named for a President who (more or less, sometimes) opposed them.

Still, there’s no better airport to commemorate him now that he’s been named Secretary of Defense.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Up to nearly 10,000 signatures now… this might be done by the 4th of July.

  2. But then do we need to rename it in six months when almost nobody remembers who Tim Howard is (assuming they do now).

  3. I have always maintained that the airport IS already named after someone who was a president of the United States.

    His name is George Washington — and he does not even have his own holiday anymore…

  4. We could auction the naming rights like cities do for sports stadiums. I would especially like this if the winning bid included paying the PFC’s for all passengers. Google National Airport, anyone?

  5. It reminds me of mark mcquire highway I-70 in St Louis. That didn’t last long. At least Washington Reagan has two dead Presidents going for it. Maybe they could move it to Washington state then it could be Reagan Washington Washington Airport. No wonder the USSR was afraid of “Star Wars”

  6. When I was in the US Navy and serving in the Persian Gulf in the mid 80’s, then President Reagan sold Hawk and TOW missiles to the Iranians – which they could have used to shoot my ass down. Not my fav President. I vote for The Tim Howard Intl Airport.

  7. Reagan took down the entire USSR, what did Dulles ever do that was so great?

  8. Why does liberal politics have to be inserted more and more in “travel” blogs? Don’t we get enough on just about every TV show and movie? Can’t we at least get along here? Travel should not be political. We can go down a very long list of so-called “undeserving” people that places are named after. Let’s not get into that. How about naming a university in D.C. after this soccer player? Oh wait, they already did!!!!

  9. This made me smile as I thought of Lewis Black’s routine on Reagan………even he would be “scared” to change the name……….it’s written in stone forever………….If we really want to be patriotic why not name a strip bar in DC after Marion Barry?

  10. I thought you might be suggesting they rename it to Redskins National Airport.


  11. @jack my readers don’t usually call me liberal! (But then they call me lots of things, just hopefully never late for departure!)

    I just found this interesting, maybe especially so since it’s my home airport.

    And nobody calling it Reagan has nothing to do with politics. Slapping a new sign on an airport doesn’t change how people thing about it.

  12. Thanks for the laugh – loved the Grover Norquist line!. I hope Tim Howard has seen this – he is truly America’s best defense

  13. Nobody calls it Reagan? Up until 3 years ago, I’d spent the past decade in Arlington. Everybody called it Reagan or DCA, nobody called it National. Is this a recent change?

  14. Wow, someone just called Gary a liberal. Now I’ve seen everything. Haha, you guys must not come here often.

    Anyway… I heard Tim Howard was actually the one that brought down the wall. Reagan just asked for it to be done.

    Love all the Saint Reagan defenders starting to come out of the woodwork though.

    Anyone who idolizes any U.S. president has mental problems.

  15. I have lived in DC for a decade and have never heard anyone refer to DCA as “Reagan;” it’s always been called National, as it should be. Renaming the airport after Reagan was nothing but a shallow political gesture. If DCA is to be renamed yet again how about naming it after the president who was partially responsible for its creation: Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

  16. I totally take the whole effort as tongue-in-cheek. Why else would you include “friend of Joe Biden” as a reason?

  17. @Imperator – I’ve lived in the DC area my whole life, and I’ve called the airport Reagan since the name change. And I frequently hear people refer to it as Reagan.

  18. And yet another instance where the politically left-minded feel they need to make a political statement on a blog that should have nothing to do with politics.

    What a shame! And with that you’ve managed to lose a good customer or two – not that you care.

  19. I call it DCA or Reagan, or Reagan National, not simply National. The purpose of a name is to convey the thought in the other person’s mind. If “only” tourists call it Reagan, it makes precious little difference: they in their diversity still outnumber the locals flying through it on regular occasion. I don’t need to be hip, people know what I’m talking about without making a face, and I’ve been living in NoVA for 10 years.

    I’m not sure you can say Reagan had little to do with USSR downfall. Perestroika cannot be assumed to have happened under a Carter or Mondale administration. Besides, “Tear Down that Wall” shouldn’t be without congratulation.

  20. @Gary – it might be a generational thing. I’m headed down to DC for the long weekend. I’ll take another small sample, but among my friends of similar age, we all call it DCA or Reagan – including the folks born and raised in Northern VA or DC.

  21. Don’t you live in NOVA? Stop saying you live in DC. NOVA is not DC is never will be. It is a soulless place.

  22. I agree with Jack. Gary, I am generally a fan of your blog but articles with even political connotations are better avoided. I remember your previous political post, which brought out the worst from your blog readers. I kindly ask you to avoid those articles.

  23. So if I said I’d rather them change the name of John Wayne airport would that be politics or entertainment ‍♂️

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