Philadelphia International Airport Guide

Serving over 33 million passengers a year, Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is the only major airport in the Philadelphia region.

In the last two decades, more than $2 billion has been spent to improve the airport and make it more on-par with facilities in other major airports, leading to improvements in efficiency, safety, appearance, and services for passengers.

Between flights for work, family visits, and vacation, we have averaged about one visit a month to the airport, so to say we’re familiar with it is an understatement.

People sitting at a bar at Philadelphia airport with lots of TV screens
Diners at an airport restaurant

Airlines and terminals

Sixteen airlines fly out of the Philadelphia airport. It is a hub for American Airlines and a focus city for low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines. Other carriers with a large volume of flights include Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Southwest Airlines.

There are seven terminals with 126 gates serving domestic and international destinations with over 75,000 flights a year.

TSA Precheck is available in Terminals A-East, C, and D/E for passengers who have the service and are flying on the following airlines: American Airlines, United Airlines, or Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Sunwing Airlines.

All the terminals are connected, so it is possible to walk between them. That means that if you would like to use Precheck but are flying out of a B gate, you can use the Precheck in Terminal C and walk to B, for instance.

We always use the TSA Precheck lines, and it is rare that we wait more than 10 minutes to get through security outside of holiday and absolute peak travel times.

Getting around

A free shuttle bus is available that operates between Terminal F, Terminal C, and Terminal A-East. Shuttle buses run every 10 minutes and the ride is roughly 5-7 minutes.

If you wish to walk, walking from Terminal A-West to Terminal F is about 45 minutes. We fly most often out of A, B, and C, and it is rare that a walk among them would take more than 20 minutes, depending on the exact location we’re going to. Of course, walking speeds and crowds vary depending on day of the week, time, and season.

Philadelphia Airport food

Customers buying food and drinks at La Colombe coffee bar
La Colombe is a great stop for food and drinks to go

Food options at Philadelphia International Airport have improved dramatically in recent years, and they regularly make updates to incorporate satellite locations of come of the city’s most popular restaurants. Across the terminals, there are about 80 food options ranging from snack stops to bars to restaurants.

In the airport, there are a variety of options that will please most palates. There are food court mainstays like Subway and Smashburger alongside Philadelphia originals like Chickie’s & Pete’s and Geno’s Steaks.

Depending on what you’re looking for, these are a few of the standouts:

  • La Colombe (Gates A3, B2, E3, and B/C Connector) – Headquartered in Philadelphia, La Colombe is known for its espresso drinks, coffee roasting, and tasty menu.
  • Bud & Marilyn’s (Gate C 18) – Another Philly original, Bud & Marilyn’s is an outpost of a Center City restaurant. It focuses on American comfort food alongside tasty cocktails. It’s a great place for breakfast if you have a few minutes to spare. If you’re there for lunch or later, don’t miss the cheese curds.
  • Independence Prime (Gate B8) – if you’re on an expense account or want to treat yourself to something on a long layover, head to terminal B for filet mignon or crab cakes.

If you’re not quite sure what you want, head to Concourse B. There is a string of restaurant options where you can order food from iPads. Check out French-inspired Boule Café, Italian restaurant Mezzogiorno, or some of the other options.

Floral couch and people at the host stand at the entrance of Bud & Marilyn's restaurant
Bud & Marilyn’s

Baby and pet care facilities

Minute Suites (Terminal A/B Connector) – One of the best places in the airport for weary travelers, Minute Suites are great if you find yourself with a layover in Philadelphia. They offer 11 suites that feature a daybed with a pull-out trundle that sleeps two, pillows, blankets, sound masking system, DirecTV, Netflix, and WiFi access. Shower access is also possible.

If there is space available, the suites are available for nursing mothers for free. You get a half-hour to nurse or pump in peace.

Mamava Suites (Terminals A-West, the B/C Connector, Terminal E, and Terminal F) – These standalone pods have a bench, fold-down table, outlet for charging, and a locking door. They’re available free of charge and can be accessed via the Mamava app.

Pet Relief Area (every terminal) – Indoor pet relief areas are inside every terminal. Outdoor relief areas are available in designated areas along the Departing Flights road and outside of baggage claim areas.

Other useful services

Exterior of Heritage Books store filled with book and magazine displays
Heritage Books in the B/C Connector

Charging Stations (airport-wide) – There are lots of places to charge your devices once you get through airport security. Look for the PHL “Power Up” Cubes and charging stations (power outlets), Power Tables (power outlets and USB ports), and Charging Tables (power outlets). You’ll also find charging stations at the gates for Delta, Southwest, and JetBlue.

Virtual Library (Terminals D and E) – A wifi hot spot gives you access to 1000+ free ebooks and podcasts courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Read & Return at Heritage Books (B/C Connector) – If you find yourself flying through Philadelphia often (or an airport with any of the other 800+ Paradies Lagardère locations), stop by Heritage Books. If you return a paperback you bought here within six months of purchase, you can get a 50 percent refund.

Where to stay

Exterior of a multi-story Marriott hotel
The Marriott is attached to the airport

Philadelphia Airport Marriott – Located at the airport, the Marriott is easily accessed from Terminal B. It’s quiet comfortable, and convenient whether you’re looking for a place to stay during a layover or longer. Check rates.

How to get to the airport

Entrance to the train line in Terminal B

Philadelphia International Airport is about 8 miles from Center City. The cost of an Uber or Lyft varies based on demand. The route is often busy, so even though it’s only a short distance, it’s not unusual for a ride to cost $50.

If you’re going to the airport from downtown, the train is a solid option. The SEPTA Regional Rail line that goes to the airport runs every day from 5:00am to midnight and stops at every terminal. I have taken it many times and have never encountered a problem.

There’s also plenty of short and long-term parking at the airport if you want added convenience. Prices range from $11 to $44 for up to 24 hours in either economy parking or garage parking. We almost always opt for Wally Park, which is an off-airport site about 5 minutes away.

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