No matter if it’s your first trip or your fifth trip, air travel with children can be daunting. The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have compounded those challenges. Elizabeth Moselle, PHL’s Assistant Director of Guest Experience and a mother herself, has put together some insider tips to help relieve the stress and make your family’s journey through PHL smooth and enjoyable for everyone.
Here are Elizabeth’s tips for traveling with children:
Know Before You Go
Masks: To keep yourself and your little ones safe, everyone must wear a mask over their nose and mouth while at the airport. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has extended mask requirements until January 18, 2022, regardless of vaccination status. Masks can be lowered temporarily when eating or drinking.
Check-in and Security: Car seats and strollers are a necessity for families with small children. It is free to check-in car seats and strollers at the airline check-in desk to your final destination. Alternatively, travelers can keep strollers with them in the terminal to check at the gate so that they are available for use until boarding and immediately after deplaning - just make sure you know how to collapse them before going through security!
And speaking of security, travelers with TSA PreCheck® can breeze through airport security. Children 12 and under can accompany a parent or guardian who has TSA PreCheck® on their boarding pass.
Traveling with infant: Breast milk and formula are not subject to the same rules as other liquids when traveling through an airport. The TSA allows formula, breast milk and juice in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in carry-on baggage, along with ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories needed to keep these liquids cold. Just separate these items from your bag and place them into a separate bin for security screening.
Services & Amenities
Make yourself comfortable at PHL – we have a host of amenities designed to make you feel closer to home while waiting for your flight.
Need to hydrate?: Water filling stations are located throughout the terminals, most next to restrooms - simply carry your empty reusable water bottle through the security checkpoint and refill it once you're past the checkpoint!
Nursing/Pumping Rooms: To support breastfeeding mothers, PHL is proud to provide a variety of options for nursing a child or pumping breast milk on the go, including Mamava suites - located post-security in Terminals A-West, between Terminals B and C , between Terminals D and E, and Terminal F - and Minute Suites - located on the secure-side walkway between Terminals B and A-East. Additionally, traveling mothers also have the option of using one of PHL’s 42 Companion Care or family restrooms, which have electrical outlets. These are located both pre-Security and on the secure side throughout the Airport.
A Helping Hand: Ever wish you had an extra set of hands to help with luggage, strollers and kids while getting through the airport? A new service, SkySquad, offers trained, pre-vetted personal assistants for hire to help guide your family through the airport “from the minute you arrive until you walk on the plane.” This fee-based service provides a helping hand to travelers ranging from babies to age 100 plus!
Fun Places to Visit, Play and Explore
Explore MarketPlace PHL: PHL continues to incorporate better experiences for families at every turn. Relax and enjoy a snack or shop for children’s books, activities, and toys – search the full listing of shops and eateries
Relax with a Book: Is reading more your speed? Grab a book to read at the Seating Area and Book Exchange in Terminal A-West, a lounge area that is made entirely from recycled materials. Our Virtual Library HotSpot, situated on the busy walkway between Terminals D and E, allows customers to log on to the Airport’s free Wi-Fi to access the Free Library of Philadelphia’s e-books, nearly 1,200 author podcasts, and other digital content. Or, relax in a comfortable lounge chair, add to the sticker wall, or enjoy bean bag toss at the ArtPortLounge in Terminal F between gates F16 and F18.
Arts & Culture: The Airport’s Exhibitions Program is a nationally recognized, award-winning visual arts initiative. Hop on over to the origami exhibit in Terminal A-West, visit the mini-museum (there are 500 mini objects on display!) between Terminals A and B, and view the light-up Plastic Galactic in Terminal D. The exhibitions continually change so make sure to check back for the latest on your next trip.
Time for a Game: There’s a lot of ways to keep little ones entertained just by looking out the expansive windows onto the airfield. If all else fails, engage them in a game of counting planes and trucks, comparing aircraft with similarities and differences, or even a classic game of “I Spy.”
“It’s not every day that kids – and even many adults – have a chance to ride on an airplane. The airport is a great place to explore, expend energy, and prepare before embarking on that journey,” said Moselle. “There is a lot more behind our doors at PHL than meets the eye, and our team works hard to continue offering traveling families a better, more positive experience. I invite you to come see PHL through the eyes of a child.”