Brussels Airlines is now operating flights between Brussels Airport (BRU) and Dulles International Airport (IAD) five times a week on widebody Airbus 330-200 aircraft, with lie-flat beds in business class, greater legroom than industry average and fully interactive personal entertainment in economy. The carrier is offering a late-afternoon service into Washington and late-evening return flight to Brussels.
Flights depart Brussels at 4:45 p.m., arriving at Dulles at 7:30 p.m., with the return flight departing Dulles at 10:35 p.m. and arriving in Brussels at 12:10 p.m. the next day. Flight time is roughly eight hours and 45 minutes. Washington is the second U.S. destination for the airline, following launch of service to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) last year.
Tourism officials for Brussels hope the new service will help increase the city's appeal among LGBT travelers.
According to Community Marketing Inc.'s 17th Annual LGBT Tourism Survey, an estimated 79 percent of the LGBT people in the U.S. – compared to just 35 percent of the country's general population – hold a valid passport.
In addition to serving as the host city of the European Union, Brussels is the capital of Belgium. A decade ago, in 2003, Belgium became the second country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands. In 2006, the country approved the ability of same-sex parents to adopt.
Last year, Belgium ranked No. 2 (behind Sweden) on the International Gay Travel Index produced by Bruno Gmünder, publisher of the Spartacus International Gay Guide. The 128 countries included on the index are rated according to the laws and customs of each country as they relate to marriage equality, HIV travel restrictions, hate-crime murders, laws against homosexuality and other criteria.
More information on visiting LGBT-friendly Brussels is available at VisitBrussels.be.