The busy holiday travel season is just around the corner. Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) anticipates 867,000 guests will pass through its terminals between November 18-29 — approximately 12 percent more than last year. Those heading into or out of PHL over Thanksgiving and the end-of-year holidays should make their travel checklists now.
Here’s what guests need to know prior to arriving at the airport:
Getting to PHL: Parking and Other Transportation Options
Onsite parking at PHL may be limited. PHL’s parking garages offer almost 12,000 parking spots. The airport’s Economy Lot, which reopened in the spring, has 1,850 spaces. PHL’s garage rate is $20 per day when parking for 96 hours or more, while the Economy Lot fee is $15 per day.
PHL's eight offsite parking partners have almost 9,000 parking spots combined.
Passengers are strongly encouraged to use off-site parking, ride share, public transportation or have a friend or family member drive them to the airport. Those who intend to park at the airport should plan on arriving at least three hours early to ensure enough time to look for garage parking or find an offsite location, while still having time to pass through security and board their flights.
Prior to heading to the airport, guests should also check the local traffic and transit reports to avoid delays en route to PHL.
COVID-19 Testing Requirements
Travel restrictions have been lifted by many countries, however, anyone planning a trip must know the COVID-19 test and vaccination regulations for their desired destination in advance of booking trips. 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. From its opening in December 2020 through September 2022, the facility had administered almost 37,000 COVID-19 tests.
Flight Check-In and Status Updates
For the convenience of passengers, many airlines offer contactless and paperless check-in. Guests should visit their airline’s website for details.
Passengers should also download their airline’s app or register for text/email updates for the latest flight statuses.
TSA Security Checks
Increased passenger volume could mean longer checkpoint wait times. TSA advises all guests to arrive at the airport two-and-a-half hours before boarding times for domestic flights and three hours before international flights to avoid the risk of missing their planes. Guests enrolled in TSA Pre-Check can use dedicated security lanes at the Terminal C and Terminal D/E checkpoints for expedited security checks. Passengers can access all PHL terminals through any TSA checkpoint.
Passengers are also reminded to learn what items can be taken through the checkpoint and what needs to be packed in checked baggage before they get to the airport. Items like firearms are not allowed in carry-on bags. A complete list of what to check and what can be packed in carry-on bags can be found here.
Once through security, guests will find about 150 PHL Food & Shops food and retail concessions in all terminals open and ready to serve them, including several new locations opened in recent months. A list of concessionaires and operating hours can be found here. Guests can also enjoy contactless ordering from select PHL Food & Shops merchants through OrderAtPHL.com. Please note: Concessions will operate on a limited schedule on Thanksgiving Day.
Guests traveling between November 21-December 24 will receive free Philadelphia-themed chocolates from Lily Palmer and 1920 Merch in the B/C Connector with same day receipts totaling $100 or more. When traveling between December 1-24, guests can have purchases wrapped free of charge between 7 a.m.-9 p.m. at the gift wrap booth in the B-C Connector.
Guests needing transportation after retrieving their luggage, should note the following:
- Ride App pick-up zones (Zone 7) are located on the South Commercial Road outside of each baggage claim area. Exit through the doors onto the S. Commercial Rd. and continue to follow signs for Ride App/Zone 7.
- Rental car agency shuttles pick-up from Zone 2 on Arrivals Road.
- Information on taxi, hotel and parking courtesy shuttle, limousine and charter bus pick-up can be found here.
- Platforms for SEPTA’s Airport Regional Rail Line and Bus Routes 37, 108 and 115 are also accessible from all baggage claims.
Passengers should not accept rides from drivers outside of the designated pick-up zones, or those that approach them inside the airport or cannot be identified as an authorized rideshare or taxi driver. Certified rideshare and taxi drivers will not enter PHL and approach travelers in need of transportation.
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.