Summer 2021 Travel: What to Know When Flying Through PHL

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is anticipating the summer 2021 travel season to be its busiest since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.   

“Our airline partners have recently resumed, added service and increased the number of flights to many popular destinations across the country and  the Caribbean,” said PHL Director of Air Service Development and Cargo Services. “Right now, our passengers are looking to travel to visit friends and relatives (VFR), hit the beach or participate in outdoor activities. The routes the airlines are offering from PHL provide plenty of access to reaching those locations.”   

PHL’s passenger volume is not expected to reach its record 2019 volumes for three to five years, however, the airport is projecting about 6.5 million passengers to travel through its terminals during the summer of 2021.

“Many guests flying this summer have not traveled in more than a year and there have been quite a few changes passengers should know about before they arrive at the airport,” said PHL Deputy Director of Strategic Partnerships Kate Sullivan. “Gone are the days when travelers can show up at the airport just a few hours before their flights. Doing some research and homework prior to take-off is a must.”  

With onsite garages filling up rapidly and the Economy Lot closed, passengers should plan carefully for other transportation options to reduce stress and enjoy a safe, streamlined transportation experience. 

Face masks are required by all passengers ages two and over inside PHL and on all planes. This federal mandate is enforced by the TSA and in effect until September 13, 2021. Fully-vaccinated guests can remove their masks on outdoor airport property.

COVID-19 Testing and Quarantine Requirements 
Travel restrictions vary by destination. Anyone planning a trip needs to know what the COVID-19 test and quarantine regulations are for their desired destination in advance of booking trips. The CDC offers a tool and travel guidelines on its website. The Jefferson Health Testing Facility at PHL offers Standard PCR (polymerase chain reaction), RT-PCR (Expedited) and rapid antigen tests. Click here for more details.  

Flight Check-In 
For the convenience of passengers, many airlines offer contactless and paperless check-in. Guests should visit their airline’s website for details.  

TSA Security Checks 
The TSA has implemented new health and safety regulations in the past year, including allowing one 12 ounce container of liquid hand sanitizer per passenger and sanitizing wipes in carry-on bags. Details on the new regulations and tips for being prepared for the screening process can be found here and via the free MyTSA app.  

New checkpoint policies and increased passenger volume could mean longer checkpoint wait times.  TSA advises all guests to arrive at the airport at least two hours before their boarding times and not risk missing their flights.  Guests can also enroll in TSA Pre-Check to access expedited security checks. 

Some additional reminders for passengers: 

  • Empty water bottles in the liquid recycling receptacles before entering security.  PHL offers water bottle refill stations in all terminals once inside security checkpoints.
  • Passengers can access all PHL terminals through any TSA checkpoint. 

What’s Open?  
Once through security, guests will find about 90 PHL Food & Shops food and retail concessions in all terminals open and ready to serve them. A list of open concessionaires and operating hours can be found here. Guests can also enjoy contactless ordering from select PHL Food & Shops merchants through Orders can be picked up from the merchant or delivered directly to passengers’ locations throughout the airport (guests might even have a surprise delivery from Jawnbot).    

Guests looking to regroup and rehydrate can purchase a refreshing beverage and enjoy exclusive artistic content from some of Philadelphia’s up-and-coming artists at the new LifeWTR Lounge, located adjacent to the A-East security checkpoint. The LifeWTR Lounge at PHL is the first-of-its-kind concept anywhere. 

Arriving Passengers 
All of PHL’s baggage claims are now open to serve arriving passengers. Guests needing transportation after retrieving their luggage, should note the following:

Drivers meeting arriving passengers should take advantage of PHL’s free Cell Phone Waiting Lot, conveniently located one minute from the baggage claim areas or park in the short term parking lots across from the baggage claims.   

“Traveling can be hectic, but there are steps passengers can take to reduce stress,” said Sullivan. “Do your homework and know what you need before arrival, get here early and enjoy our art exhibits, shops and restaurants, and have patience with fellow travelers. We are all adjusting to the new travel policies.”  


Media Contacts

Christine Ottow
Director of Strategic Communications
[email protected]
Heather Redfern
Public Affairs Manager
[email protected]

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