Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia
Philly Airport (PHL) is not ALL bad, but it is known to be frustrating.
Here's what you need to know:
If you are just passing through - allow for a roomy layover. Philly is notorious for delays, usually caused by our awesome weather (snow storms, freezing rain, thunderstorms…) or my favorite: "low ceilings". Same goes for any plans to fly out of Philly on an itinerary with one or more stops - don't chance missing your connection.
"Be Cruel to Be Kind". A favorite tour director said this to our group every evening as he advised us of the ridiculous hour in which he wanted us to start our day. This mantra is essential at PHL. ALWAYS take the early flight. This is generally good advice no matter where your flight originates, but especially true in Philly. Delays build throughout the day, so if you're on the first one out, you're more likely to get out on time. This is crucial in the summertime since thunderstorms wreak havoc on the schedules, and there are less likely to be any storms at that time of the morning. Not to mention that the early flight is usually cheaper.
Terminal 'F': a lot of connections for regional flights go through this newly renovated terminal. DO check out The Hub. Get yourself some authentic Philly Soft Pretzels from the Philly Soft Pretzel Factory (or bring some to those that you're visiting).
Security: They're about as miserable as TSA gets. The lines have improved since they reconfigured things at the airport, but plan on a LONG wait at peak travel times (holidays, summer vacation season). If you are traveling First Class, be prepared to be rudely ushered into the standard security line unless you speak up - they tend to block and hide the existence if the alternative. I have observed that the staff tends to be slightly more friendly with individuals traveling with Pre-Check.
When arriving at Philadelphia International Airport, follow the signs for ground transportation and you will find a desk near the airport exit with lots of useful information about making your onward journey. A staffed desk means that there is someone there with local knowledge to assist you in your decision-making process.
I enquired regarding taking the train into Philadelphia and then a taxi on to my hotel and also enquired about the price of a shuttle from the airport directly to my hotel. I was informed that the cost of the train to Philadelphia was only slightly less than a shuttle directly to my hotel. This made the decision-making process much easier and I quickly asked for details of a shuttle service. I was provided with a telephone and 2-digit number to dial to be put in contact with the shuttle service who gave me a reference number so that I could take a seat inside the terminal and wait for their arrival.
The lady who was staffing the desk at the time of my arrival was friendly and helpful; during the time I waited she assisted a number of different people arriving and dealt with everyone's enquiries in a friendly manner, helping with lots of different information on ground transportation options.
When the desk is not staffed, screens provide telephone numbers for shuttle services, taxis, limousine services and other transportation options.
The airport is the primary international hub of US Airways and has service to destinations in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe. It is at present the 9th busiest airport in the world in terms of aircraft activity Most of the airport property is located in Philadelphia proper. The international terminal and the western end of the airfield are located in Tinicum Township, Delaware County.
The airport is a sprawling complex with six different terminal facilities: Terminals A West and East, Terminal B/C, Terminal D, Terminal E and Terminal F. Terminal B/C, where US Airways primarily operates, houses the Philadelphia Marketplace, a large food, beverage and retail gallery. Throughout all of PHL’s terminals, be on the lookout for the airport’s extensive art displays featuring arts, crafts, design and photography by artists from Philadelphia and around the world. Terminal A West houses a new international hall, Terminal F offers 38 gates for regional and commuter jets
The Philadelphia International Airport serves over 100 international and domestic destinations daily. A recent refurbishment has augmented the functionality and appearance of the complex. A slew of mall fixtures such as the Gap and restaurants like T.G.I. Fridays allow travelers to indulge in shopping and dining during their holdovers. Art exhibitions in all mediums reflect the culture of Philadelphia. The airport is located about 7 miles south of Center City. Routes 76, 611 (Broad Street), and I-95 all reach there. (Average cab fare to Center City: USD 20.00)
Address: 8000 Essington Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19153, USA
I have to be honest when I post these tips, bo, daring to be transparent, Philadelphia is the worst airport I've ever been in, bar none. The people were rude and unprofessional, the gates unorganized, the security checkpoints very unorganzied, the wait for food was incredibly long even with very short lines- the flights were all stacked against each other on the runways, planes were also waiting to pull up to their terminals on inbounds- this place was horrible. Last time I went through I was on a personal vacation in Vegas- my luggae didn't show up until 2 days after I checked into my hotel.
My recommendation to anyone who has a choice in their connecting flights- do NOT go through PHL!!!
The airport has 7 terminals and 4 runways handle 700 flights a day from 30 airlines.
The airport is located south of the city along Interstates 95, 76, and 476 next to the Delaware River. It is easily accessible from the city via the high-speed rail service, buses and taxis.
Parking is limited...short term parking is a minimum of $3 for 30 minutes and a max of $38 per day!!! Long term parking is much better priced at around $8 per day, but space is limited (the day I came, the lot was full). There are several off-airport lots with rates from $8 to $15 per day.
When we lived in Folcroft in 1969, we could see the planes taking off across Tinicum Marsh.
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is served by 26 major airlines.
American Airlines, and American Eagle
British Airways Charter
Continental and Continental Express
Delta Air Lines and Delta Connection
United Airlines and United Express
US Airways and US Airways Express
I do not remember that I have ever flown into or out of this airport, because when we go from Baltimore to Philadelphia we usually drive. We went to the airport this past October (2004), but only to turn in a rental car. That was because we figured it would be easier to drive a one way rental to Philadelphia even from our house in Leonardtown than it would be to drive to BWI and then fly. The flight would only be 45 minutes, but the drive to BWI would be two hours, plus we'd have to be there an hour in advance of the flight. And I thought it would also be cheaper to drive as the airline tickets would be over $100 each.
So we left Sunday about 8:00. We went through the Harbor Tunnel ($2) a little after 9:30, crossed the Susquehanna and got to the toll on I-95 ($5) about 10:10 (114 miles). Then there was another $3 toll in Delaware. Then as we approached the airport, the Broad Street exit was completely clogged with fans going to the Eagles game. It has taken us just 3 hours to get to this point and we've been 167 miles. So we went on past that exit, got off and got gas ($2.71/gal and it took about 6 + gallons) and after several wrong turns managed to turn in the car ($73.40) at the airport. Then we got a taxi from the airport to the ship. We were walking aboard by 1:15 (even though we got delayed and lost), and the total time was 5 hours (v.s. 4 hours + time to get luggage in Philadelphia), and cost $123 including the taxi from the airport.
Philadelphia International Airport is a US Airways hub. You'll also find most other major airlines fly to and from Philly. Recently, the budget airline Southwest started service from Philly giving travelers an additional low budget option. Also, keep in mind that there are many other major airports within a couple hours from Philly (all the New York City airports including Newark, NJ, as well as the D.C. and Baltimore airports).
Cabs are readily available and the layout of the terminals and the signage is easy to navigate. The exception to this is when you arrive from overseas. It's not so bad for me, because I'm used to it, but I can imagine that a non-English speaker might be a little confused coming through customs. My advice is to just follow the crowd that comes off of your flight and you should be okay.
You can catch a train into Center City as well, which takes you into 30th Street Station.
The airport code in PHL.
To get there from Center City, take the I76 South, turn off at exit 43B, then join SR-291 South and continue Southwest on SR-291.
Turn off at the Airport Exit and you're there. Or, if you're coming from Old City (east side of Center City), just jump on I95 South and you'll see the signs for the airport after five miles or so.
PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (PHL): http://www.philadelphia-phl.com/maps.html.
Ground Transportation at Philadelphia International Airport: http://www.philadelphia-phl.com/transportation.html.
MAP OF PHILADELPHIA CENTRAL: http://media.maps.com/magellan/Images/PHILLY-W1.gif
PHILADELPHIA SUBWAY MAP: http://www.reed.edu/~reyn/SEPTAMAP.JPG.
LINE MAP OF PHILADELPHIA SUBWAY: http://www.apsco.co.jp/abe/mappage/philadel.gif.
From England the best way to get to Philadelphia by far is to Fly. Only 7.5 hours from Heathrow to Philadelphia International Airport. From the Airport there is a Subway train service that gets you right into the city centre.
Philadelphia has a good Bus and Subway system. Plenty of Cabs to get home after a night out on the town. Car rental is also worth while as the beach is only a hours drive away
Philadelphia International Airport is approximately 8 miles from the city center. There's a SEPTA Airport Express that runs frequently from the airport to the major downtown train stations [30th Street, Market East, North Broad & Suburban].
Walking is probably the best. Driving is fine as long as you're comfortable with city driving. Parking is fine only on Sundays-be prepared to pay for parking any other day. Purple mini-buses called the Philly Phlash stop at many major tourist sites. You can purchase an all day ticket for $3 for unlimited rides on this bus. If not, get a Septa pass for $5-good for 24 hours on all buses, subways and trolleys including the airport express.