Happy Thanksgiving! Here are Some Tips to Ease Your Travel Through PHL

PHILADELPHIA – The busy Thanksgiving Week travel period gets underway this weekend and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is prepared to welcome more than 792,000 departing and arriving passengers – about an 8 percent uptick from 2018 - from Saturday, November 23 thru Monday, December 2. The busiest days are expected to be Sunday, December 1; Saturday, November 30; and Wednesday, November 27. Travelers are advised to allow plenty of extra time at the airport on all days and especially those that are the busiest.

To facilitate your departure, the Airport has provided the following tips:

  • Check your flight status prior to arriving at the airport by contacting your airline directly, calling the Airport at 800-PHL-GATE or visiting the Airport’s website, phl.org, and then click on “Flight Information” for the latest updates. Have your flight number ready. In addition, most airlines have mobile apps that allow passengers to check flight status, gate information and more.
  • If you are 18 or older, have a valid government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, passport, military ID, or government employee ID. Note: Read ID is not required this year, but it will be required for air travel beginning October 1, 2020 (see https://penndot.gov/REALID).
  • Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to your departure time; allow extra time for parking, check-in and security screening. NOTE: it is strongly advised to allow even more time on the busiest travel days.
  • Liquid, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes in 3.4-ounce or small containers may be carried onto the aircraft in a re-sealable, one-quart, clear plastic bag. Only one such bag per traveler is allowed and it must be removed from your bag for inspection at the check point. Liquids, gels and aerosols in containers larger than 3.4 ounces must be placed in your checked baggage. Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces and they do not need to be in a zip-top bag. Declare the items for inspection at the checkpoint. Items may be opened and are subject to additional screening.For additional information on items that are permitted and prohibited, consult the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website, email the TSA at [email protected] or call the TSA Consumer Response Center toll-free at 1-866-289-9673, or connect on Twitter and Facebook @AskTSA
  • Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and medical conditions may call the TSA Cares toll-free helpline at 1-855-787-2227 72 hours prior to traveling with any questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.
  • TSA Pre-Check lanes for eligible passengers are available at Security Checkpoints in Terminals A-East, C and D/E. Terminal C Checkpoint is PRE-CHECK ONLY.
  • Wheelchair service requests are handled by airline ticket counter personnel If services are required upon your traveling, consult with your airline when making your reservation and confirm the request prior to the day of departure.
  • Drinks are not permitted through the checkpoint. Picking up a carry-on meal and beverage for your flight once you passed through the check point is suggested.Water bottle filling stations are located in the terminals past the security checkpoints.
  • Do not wrap gifts. They may be opened for inspection. This applies to both checked and carry on items. Starting Sunday, December 1, Marketplace at PHL will be offering complimentary gift wrapping for purchases made at the airport at the gift wrap table across from the B-C food court.


  • Close to 19,000 parking spaces are provided at the Airport. Long-term parking is available in the Garages and in the Economy Lot; parking in the Short-Term lot is recommended for visits of less than an hour.
  •  Parking Rates are as follows:
    • Economy Lot: $11 daily flat rate
    • Garage Parking: $24 daily, $6.00 up to 1 hr., $15.00 up to 3 hrs.
    • Short-Term Lot: $44 daily, $6.00 up to 1hr, $24.00 up to 4 hrs.

For more information on Airport parking, contact the Philadelphia Parking Authority at 215-683-9842

A free PHL on-Airport “Cell Phone Waiting Lot” is available for drivers to wait, with their vehicles, for short periods of up to 30 minutes until their party is ready to be picked up. The lot is less than a one-minute drive from baggage claim areas. Follow the Arriving Flights roadway into the Airport and then follow the signs to the Cell Phone Waiting Lot. Wait in your vehicle until your party is curb side with luggage ready to be picked up.

SEPTA Airport Rail Line

  • Convenient and accessible, the SEPTA Airport Regional Rail Line runs every 30 minutes and stops at Terminals A,B,C/D and E. Use the SEPTA Key Fare Kiosks at each terminal platform (cash, credit/debit cards accepted) to purchase a Quick Trip – single trip fare for $6.75 for travel to Center City/$9.25 for all other Rail destinations or buy a SEPTA Key Card and a One Day Independence Pass or Weekly/Monthly Trail Pass. Purchase a Quick Trip at one of the Center City Regional Rail stations for return travel to the Airport. One-way fare, paid on board the train is $8 cash only. For more information on schedules and fares, contact SEPTA at 215-580-7800 or visit SEPTA’s website.

Remember, if you see something that doesn’t look or seem right, don’t hesitate to tell a police officer or call 3111 from a white courtesy phone. Safety is everyone’s business.

Stay up to date with PHL news by following the Airport on Twitter @PHLAirport.

“The holiday season is one of the busiest travel periods and is also a time when the Airport welcomes many travelers who are not familiar with the routine of traveling by air,” said Airport CEO Chellie Cameron. “We are glad to have these recommendations listed in order to help those traveling become better prepared once they arrive at the Airport. There will be additional staff assisting the traveling public during peak travel times. On behalf of the employees at the Philadelphia International Airport, I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season."

Notice of Privacy Practices