The Art of Physical Distancing

Navigating the physically distanced world is a learning process, not only for the public remembering to keep six feet apart, but also for facilities setting up stanchions and barriers to keep patrons safely spaced. At PHL, that means making changes in real time.

“When we put our physical distancing plan in place, there weren’t many passengers in the airport and only a few merchants were open,” said MarketPlace PHL Vice President and General Manager Mel Hannah. “With more guests and more merchants reopening, PHL Food & Shops has someone walking the terminals during peak times to make sure queues are appropriately spaced and guests aren’t crowding each other.”

This could mean MarketPlace staff reminds guests to stand farther apart in lines, reroutes longer lines away from main walkways or spaces waiting areas so that guests are not packed in tight corners.

“Having staff on the floor not only gives MarketPlace a chance to educate passengers about the new habits they will need to develop, but also helps us see what works and doesn’t and make adjustments to benefit everyone,” said Hannah.

MarketPlace works with the airlines to determine when terminals are expected to be busiest, and staff accordingly. “The airlines have been great partners, providing data that has allowed us to notify merchants of potential crowds.”

PHL staff is also regularly monitoring behaviors and making adjustments based on customer feedback and observations. “We’ve been working with all of our airport partners—the TSA, airlines and merchants— as well as listening to social media and engaging industry peers to determine best practices,” said Leah Douglas, PHL’s Director of Guest Experience. “As more people have resumed flying, we’ve blocked off seats in waiting areas and placed physical distancing reminders in security checkpoint queues. This is a work in progress, but by being proactive and working together, we can help everyone stay safe and healthy to make PHL an airport of choice.”  


Media Contacts

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

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