The Worst Airport Gate In America Close To Being Shut Down

Update: The Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority clarifies that the source article was quoting a Twitter response from a confusingly-similar unofficial account, and that “American Airlines continues to operate several flights a day using Gate 35X.”

Sigh. The end will come soon enough.

The worst airport gate in American, Washington National’s gate 35X, is officially put to rest and will no longer cause misery to travelers. (HT: Andrew W.)

With fewer flights, American Airlines 50 seat regional jet departures have been moved to the main terminal, instead of having to take an escalator down to a dark and dingy holding pen before being driven to bus gates. That’s the temporary situation until the new regional concourse, nearly completed, opens with its 14 new gates. Yes, Washington National airport has built an entire new concourse to replace one miserable gate, and it’s almost finished.

Currently 14 remote stands support 50 seat regional jets and you reach those remote stands by beginning at the crowded and confusing ‘gate 35x’ from whence you’re dispatched in the most small-d democratic fashion possible. The new gates will support large 76 seat regional jets.

American’s Shuttle Bus to Gate 35X at Washington National Airport

Retiring 35X couldn’t come soon enough, because a crowded tarmac-level dispatch area without room for social distancing followed by crowded buses is no way to run an airport during Covid Times. If they can at least get rid of the crowded holding pen part that’s an improvement.

You’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, so the best we can say about it is that it brought together the likes of Robert Mueller and Donald Trump, Jr. and no matter how powerful the politician they were all brought back down to earth by 35X.

Here’s a haiku about Washington National’s gate 35X though I would remove the second ‘very’ from the second line in order to give it seven syllables.

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, 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. Gary, now that 35x has been dethroned, I would challenge readers: What is America’s newest worst gate?

  2. Regardless of the specific gates – MIA in general is the worst airport I’ve ever had the displeasure of visiting. Awful.

  3. Hallelujah! As a long-suffering Gate 35X ‘survivor’, one can only wonder when AA – or another airline – will be reusing this infamous DCA gate.

  4. I’ve flown out of Gate 35X before. It’s not *that* terrible (you make it sound like entering the gates of Hades), but to your point, the crowding and buses are definitely counter-productive in the age of Covid.

  5. @Alan – sounds like you haven’t actually flown out of LGA any time in recent memory…the new Central Terminal is quite amazing.

    IMO the worst airport experience in the US is EWR-A…the worst part of the worst airport

  6. Praise the lord! The swamp of 35X is drained!

    IMO, the LAX Eagles Nest is the worst now. This former abandoned UX satellite is so bad, I refuse to connect through it.

  7. Alaska Airlines gates in Boston is/was sad. Normal gates but isolated, only a rest room and one shop.

    Easter Island used to be sad. Just a semi outdoor shack.

    Some airports in Alaska are very basic, just a hanger with some seats and carpet.

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