I made it to the National Air & Space Museum yesterday. Thanks for all the tips via email and comments! With all the information I received I decided to fly into IAD and just visit the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
The flight out was nice. I was able to score a first class seat. Sitting in first for me is more about the leg room than anything else. Getting a free breakfast was nice as well.
IAD is an interesting airport. I have flown into it before. The huge passenger transport vehicles remind me of some kind of futuristic military transport.
I found an information desk and asked how to get to the museum. They handed me a flyer and pointed me to a lower door and stop 2E. While walking I misread the schedule and thought the bus left at 30 past the hour. This was great as it was 20 past the hour. Nope....it left the Museum at 30 past the hour...it leaves the airport at 15 past the hour. Doh!
While waiting I was talking with my wife who was in NY. She was trying to get on a 1:40PM flight. Problem was several revenue paying passengers who were on a 2:10PM flight wanted to go standby on the 1:40PM flight. They all got seats. None left for my wife. Well then the 1:40PM flight was delayed due to a minor mechanical problem till 2:30PM. Guess what? All those passengers now wanted back on the 2:10PM flight. My wife had quite the entertainment watching all of these passengers getting all upset of 20 minutes!
Eventually she got on the delayed 1:40PM flight.
Eventually the bus came. The ride is a cheap $0.50 each way.
The Museum was very nice. There are many more planes here than the National Mall Air & Space Museum. The other museum does have more exhibits though. After about 2 hours I was content. I checked the flight schedules to see a 4:35PM flight that had a few open seats. The time was 3:25PM. The shuttle for the airport left in 5 minutes. I rushed to get my bag all the while listing myself on the 4:35PM flight. The shuttle left right at 3:30PM...they don't mess around.
I stepped off the shuttle at 3:45PM and made my way into the airport. Initially I walked past the Dulles employee line as I wasn't in uniform. When I walked up to a regular security line I was told to go back to the employee line. Nice.
I cleared security and rushed to the gate. I walked up to the gate at 4:10PM flight expecting to see boarding in progress. Nope. Delayed a bit.
If I had checked in earlier I would have had first class again. because I checked in less than an hour prior to the flight, all the first class seats were taken. I got a seat....very last row in coach. Oh well...still a seat.
My visit to the museum was pretty low stress. If I had waited until today to go I would still be waiting to get there. All the flights are full today going to Washington, D.C.
Some of the photos I took can be seen below [nggallery id=8]
Thanks again for all the tips!