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Reader’s report: Pet relief areas at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and the Charleston International Airport (CHS)

Last week I posted half of reader Mia’s report from a recent trip (“Flying with an in-cabin dog on a Delta CRJ-200“). Here’s the other half, describing the results of her searches for pet relief areas at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and the Charleston International Airport (CHS).

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

According to the website, DCA has four pet relief areas: Two outside Terminal A at either end of the big traffic half-circle, one outside Terminal B across from the entrance to the Metro station, and one outside Terminal C across from the entrance to the Metro station. Sounds straightforward, but our man on the street (actually, our woman and dog on the street) was baffled:

I looked and looked and looked at Washington Reagan National Airport for their pet relief areas at Terminals B & C but I just couldn’t find them! The one for Terminal A is exactly where their map says it is, and I’ve been there before — you just exit the terminal at the main entrance, turn left, and it is the grassy area with the bench on the left, with the pet relief area sign.

Mia apologized, but she shouldn’t have — this is clearly a situation that cries out for more, or better, signage.

Charleston International Airport

According to the website, CHS has two pet relief areas, one “just outside of the ticketing lobby” and the other “just outside the baggage claim area of the terminal.” They’re keeping the information close to their chests, however — I had to search hard to find it, and Mia reports that pet relief areas aren’t shown on any of the airport maps, and she didn’t see any signs. She decided (not knowing what the website said) that there must just not be an official pet relief area:

Perhaps this is because there is so much grass outside the airport they thought having an official area would be redundant. The terminal is small, and so is the area outside of it — just walk across the two pick-up lanes outside the terminal, across to where the parking garage is, and you’ll find huge grassy areas where your pup can relieve herself. Callie really appreciated the short distance between the terminal and the grass, and I was happy to find trash cans nearby (on the way into the parking garage or back outside the terminal).

Here’s her picture of the lawn at the Charleston airport, across from the pick up/drop off area, just before the parking garage.:

"The airport is tiny so you literally just walk across the street to short and long term parking."

Thanks so much, Mia! I really appreciate your taking the time to let the rest of us know what you found, and how to retrace your steps. I’ve added this post to Dog Jaunt’s ongoing series of reviews of airport pet relief areas. To see others, visit Dog Jaunt’s handy guide to airport pet relief areas.


  • dogtravelpro pet carrier

    Will be nice when all airports provide a pet relief area and a map to find it. Seems that some airlines that banned pets for a time are realizing that we like to fly with out pets, so maybe the pet relief areas will be next.

  • Jeri


    Just wanted to let everyone know there is a dedicated pet relief area at the Charleston Airport. It can be found outside to the right (if facing counter) of ticketing and has poop bags. Go through side door and look left, there is a small small fence. I flew last week and used both the dedicated spot and the large grassy area on the way to parking with no problems. Happy travels!

  • And here’s a very helpful comment, posted by reader Cheryl on 12/3/12 on another blog post (I’m copying it here so travelers arriving at DCA can find it more easily):

    “Hi! Just thought I would jump in, regarding DCA and a pet relief area. DCA is my home airport; there actually are a couple of designated pet relief areas here. We are taking our dachshund/yorkie mix on her first flight this Christmas and did a dry run with her yesterday, which included locating pet relief. The areas we located are outside security. I’m not certain how clear or specific the signage is if you are arriving and looking for pet relief, however, for Terminals C and B, if you follow the signs to the Metro/pedestrian bridges on the concourse level, the pet relief areas are opposite the Metro entrances. In fact, if you get onto the 2nd people mover heading out to the parking garages, you have gone too far. Conversely, if you departing from DCA, the pet relief areas are between the two people movers you access from the parking garage.

    The two relief areas for B and C are decent size, mostly concrete, with patches of grass and some bushes. Waste disposal is available. The Metro runs almost directly over this area, so if you have a nervous dog, be aware of the loud, frequent noise.

    I understand there are two pet relief areas available for Terminal A, as well, but have no personal knowledge of location or features.”

  • Ann (& Penny)

    Penny and I have been to the pet relief area of DCA near Terminal C twice. It is exactly as described: pretty noisy with trains running right overhead. For the human, though, it’s very close and easy to maneuver the dog and your stuff as you head out to the Metro. Penny was scared, and hopped right in her crate after doing her business.

  • Thanks so much for your comment, Ann (and Penny too!) — Do you recall how you got to the Terminal C pet relief area? Mia was baffled, but it sounds like you’ve found the path.

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