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PHL, Is It Really That Bad?  
User currently offlineJamman From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 142 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 5427 times:

I'm planning a trip in October to ERI and I can get a good fare traveling with USairways from MAN and connecting through PHL.

So I did a little research on PHL (terminal maps/connecting procedures) and general traveler opinions about the airport.
Looking at the website http://www.airlinequality.com/Airports/Airport_forum/phl.htm I read lots of bad comments about the airport in general and how bad it is for connecting there.

My main concerns are how hard is it to connect there (one comment says 30mins! just to travel to terminal F from A) and the fact that when I arrive how long will I have to wait for my baggage at terminal A and do I have to re-chicken at terminal F?

Your enlightened comments are welcome


Phoning it in from a place with no phones.
23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBigOrange From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 2371 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 5394 times:

Quoting Jamman (Thread starter):
My main concerns are how hard is it to connect there (one comment says 30mins! just to travel to terminal F from A) and the fact that when I arrive how long will I have to wait for my baggage at terminal A and do I have to re-chicken at terminal F?

30 minutes sounds like a reasonable time. You have to get from A to C/D to get the shuttle bus to F, or walk from A to F outside the terminals.


User currently offlineCha747 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 785 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 5307 times:

It really depends on a lot of things. October is a better weather season because it's after the thunderstorm/hurricane season and well before the snow season. The main delays at PHL in October will be due to air traffic in general (along the New York-Washington corridor) and weather causing ground stops at other airports.

The way I understand it from recent trips there, Terminals A (East & West), B, C, and D are physically connected to one another by a bridge, but that bridge is "inside" security. Terminals D, E, and F are all connected by bridges "outside" security.

In anycase, arriving at PHL on US, you will likely be able to just re-check your bags at terminal A regardless of which terminal you will end-up at assuming that you're flying US. Then you have to walk. Walking outside on the sidewalk is the easiest, most direct but yes, it is probably at least a good 1km walk from A-West to F.

Your best bet might be to pass-through security in A East/West and then walk to the beginning of the C Concourse. C16 (I think) is a dedicated "gate" for the shuttle bus that takes you to the middle of terminal F. Assuming your bags are already re-checked, this might be the best option.

PHL wasn't optimally designed for making these international-to-domestic connections (even less so when the International arrivals and Departures were out in the old blue "barn") but it serves the purpose. If there were a more organized shuttle-bus or tram system it might make it easier to make connections, but there is not enough space at that airport as it is. My experience has been that the international flights tend to arrive close to schedule regardless of the delays and it's the connecting, domestic flights then that all get messed-up and delayed.



You land a million planes safely, then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it - Pushing Tin
User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 5275 times:

I feel sorry for you... you come to visit my beautiful state but you have to go to the two crappiest corners.  Smile And while it might not be snow season in PHL yet in October... the first foot+ lake effect snowfall blast of the year being in October is not unheard of in the frozen tundras of Erie County, just as a bit of a forewarning.

I've never done Int'l through PHL to know how the customs work, but those mainline to F-terminal connections can be a real PITA. Unfortunately any Europe-PIT service on US has long since gone by the wayside, so PHL is going to be your best bet for a single connection into ERI. Agreeing with Cha747... International flights tend to get ground-stopped less than a typical PHL domestic flight... they're usually in the air before PHL gets backed up and the ATC programs begin for the day. If the plane servicing your ERI hop gets backed up somewhere in the PHL delay program earlier in the day, you might get alot longer of a connection time than you think so it'll be less to worry about.

You'll be on a RJ for the ~45 min airtime flight up to ERI but you might just want to avoid the temptation to recheck bags in the terminal (if possible) after clearing customs, because US @ PHL has been known to struggle in that regard in the past... so just planeside check them right onto the RJ if possible. (My girlfriend is a perfect 3 for 3 arriving here in ABE without her bags after connecting in PHL) Without a doubt try for a window seat up to ERI... you'll be crossing our heavily forested mountains at a relatively low altitude (at least compared to crossing the pond) and the colors of the foliage in October are just breathtaking!

Enjoy your visit to Pennsylvania!!! If you'd like more information about the area or anything drop me an email or something, I'll be more than glad to try to help out.


User currently offlineJamman From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 142 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 5197 times:

Thanks for your help guys that filled in a lot of the gaps I had in my mind about PHL, certainly sounds like a interesting place to connect!
Half the fun is the traveling in my opinion and exploring a new airport even more so! Just don't tell the GF that I said that, I'm supposed to be visiting her after all!  Smile

Quoting Cha747 (Reply 2):
(even less so when the International arrivals and Departures were out in the old blue "barn")

I have heard of the "blue barn" mentioned here and there on the interweb, what exactly was it? Just a blue barn? Was it a proper terminal?!

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 3):
Enjoy your visit to Pennsylvania!!! If you'd like more information about the area or anything drop me an email or something, I'll be more than glad to try to help out.

Thanks for your kindness Tornado82, I'll certainly keep you in mind if I have any questions about your fair state.



Phoning it in from a place with no phones.
User currently offlinePITA333 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 391 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 5188 times:

Jamman:
First of all, Pennsylvania is a great state! I hope you enjoy your visit to ERI, I think its a great Pennsylvania city! But now I'll get to your question.

I have done international travel through PHL and I have done the terminal A to F transfer on several occasions (in fact, one time I went from terminal A, gate 26 to terminal F, gate 37 without shuttle service running, due to technical difficulties. THAT WAS ONE LONG WALK!!! hahaha). I was coming from SNN and making a connection to CHS. My flight to CHS was delayed, as well as my flight coming in from SNN. It was because of the weather delays that I made my connection. US Airways is the "king" of tight connections. Take the Shuttle Bus. That is the best advice I think anyone can give you, don't assume that you can walk it. Like said above, the shuttle bus has a stop by gate C16. You need to go down some stairs to get to the stop, but you should be able to find it.

Its too bad that you don't have the time to check out the Terminal(s) B/C mall area. Its a nice place. I love to just sit in the rocking chairs in the terminals and go on my laptop! It can be a relaxing area thing to do in a busy airport. If you can, take the drive down to PIT from ERI on Interstate 79! See a Pittsburgh Steelers game if you go on a Sunday! In Erie take time out to go to Quaker Steak and Lube for some wings (I think Tornado82 will agree  Smile ). I think if you take the PHL shuttle bus, you'll be fine! Hope its not snowing. The lake effect snow can just be crazy at times! Good luck and God Speed!

Regards,
PITA333


User currently offlineJrMafia90 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 5137 times:

I don't mind PHL, I love to leave out of it because it is only 20 minutes away, not confusing to drive around. But I never did a connecting flight in it.

User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 5090 times:

Quoting PITA333 (Reply 5):
If you can, take the drive down to PIT from ERI on Interstate 79! See a Pittsburgh Steelers game if you go on a Sunday! In Erie take time out to go to Quaker Steak and Lube for some wings (I think Tornado82 will agree ).

No doubt!!! AWESOME wings. Try Primanti Brothers too if you end up in the Pittsburgh area. Hopefully by October PennDOT has ended the cone/barrel maze on I-79. Good luck getting Steelers tickets though, it's not cheap to pay the scalpers!! Maaayyybe *fingers crossed* the Pirates will still be playing some baseball in October, over the past few weeks they've made alot of progress climbing out of the basement!! If not, Kennywood Park, one of the world's highest-rated amusement parks is in Pittsburgh and they're open through October... and another hour south of there are the beautiful Laurel Highlands area of the Appalchians, with some awesome white water rafting (in the area of VVS and MGW if you're REALLY good with your identifer codes  Smile )

Erie is a unique mid-sized city with the lakefront and so forth, and you're definitely flying the best airline to access ERI from as far as frequency (and to some extent equipment) goes. Alot of other airlines serve it via props... although I've got no problem with props personally. I've only been in the ERI airport for a diversion once during svr wx in PIT several years ago, typical airport for a city of that size, not bad, and I believe they have jetbridges now too. If it happens to be a warm enough day for water Presque Isle Bay/Peninsula area is nice right there in Erie to spend some time, beautiful sunsets there with the GF  Wink

If you're in Star Alliance, you'll rack up a quick 500mi each way for that ERI-PHL segment, not a bad little trip. I used to love the 500mi each way for PIT-MGW, a grand total of 63 miles flight time.


User currently offlineJamman From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 142 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 5028 times:

Quoting PITA333 (Reply 5):
take time out to go to Quaker Steak and Lube for some wings (I think Tornado82 will agree).

Oh yes with a menu like this http://www.lubewings.com/pdf/erie_menu.pdf I'm definitely paying them a visit! Although I would probably never have to eat again for the rest of my life, ever, we don't get allot of food like that over here  Smile

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 7):
If you're in Star Alliance, you'll rack up a quick 500mi each way for that ERI-PHL segment, not a bad little trip. I used to love the 500mi each way for PIT-MGW, a grand total of 63 miles flight time.

Yup already joined, I figured that I would be making this trip often enough to try and earn something back from the airlines!
I might even take USairways up on their 'find it cheaper else where and we'll refund the difference' although I'm not sure if the same applies to UK citizens?

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 7):
If it happens to be a warm enough day for water Presque Isle Bay/Peninsula area is nice right there in Erie to spend some time, beautiful sunsets there with the GF

I figured that Erie had its good points and its bad points, being a Geography graduate it wasn't hard for me to research this, but the Presque Isle looks quite unique!

James.



Phoning it in from a place with no phones.
User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 4995 times:

Quoting Jamman (Reply 8):
being a Geography graduate it wasn't hard for me to research this,

Same here!! Doubled up in Geography and Meteorology. Erie's main bad points are its economy, and that if you live there you better LOVE snow. I wouldn't mind the snow, although it would get to be a bit much after awhile.

Quoting Jamman (Reply 8):

I might even take USairways up on their 'find it cheaper else where and we'll refund the difference' although I'm not sure if the same applies to UK citizens?

I'm pretty sure they don't give it to non-US citizens... but don't hold me to that. I wish the system was a little different though, such as Continental who dropped their own price by $85 on a flight about 2 days after I bought the ticket... even though it was still 2 months out. Such is dumb luck.


User currently offlineVincent32 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4928 times:

Make sure that you give yourself enough time to connect and proceede through customs and immigration. I have never been through customs in PHL, but I have had to connect from Concourse C to the end of A West for a flight to MBJ in Feb and it took a little longer than I expected to walk the distance.
PHL is a great airport however since the remodel. A is a great concourse, and the shopping center between B and C gives the place a nice feel.
Enjoy your trip.!
 Smile


User currently offlineCrownvic From United States of America, joined exactly 10 years ago today! , 1934 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4805 times:

Jamman...Why don't you take a later connection to ERI so you cab have more time at PHL?

User currently offlineJamman From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 142 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4739 times:

Quoting Crownvic (Reply 11):
Jamman...Why don't you take a later connection to ERI so you cab have more time at PHL?

Well hopefully this will be enough time to go though immigration > Customs > Connect travel time.

Manchester (MAN)
Depart 12:35 to Philadelphia (PHL)
Arrive 15:20 Duration: 7hr 45min

Philadelphia (PHL)
Depart 17:20 to Erie (ERI)
Arrive 18:45 Duration: 1hr 25min

I think that is the last flight of the day as well to ERI so I don't have that many options. Apart from going to CLE but that would be a 2 hour drive to Erie after that  Smile



Phoning it in from a place with no phones.
User currently offlineTrekster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4726 times:

I did LGW-PHL-LAS last year, and other than a run on the way back to to weather delaying our inbound, i thought the terminals there were great. Pristine, good layout, well signposted. Had about 3 hours there on the outbound flt, and liked the place.

Who are u connecting with on the internal flt, can USAIRWAYS not thru check ur bags so all u have to do is get to the nxt plane??????
You never know, they might have an agreement. Worth asking em??


User currently offlineJamman From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 142 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4702 times:

Quoting Trekster (Reply 13):
Who are u connecting with on the internal flt, can USAIRWAYS not thru check ur bags so all u have to do is get to the nxt plane??????

Well I'm flying with USairways all the way from MAN to ERI so I'm hoping that there will be some area to drop my bags off in terminal A so I can just make my own way to F. I think though international passengers have to pick up their baggage regardless and go though customs, will their be somewhere for me to drop them off after that?

I've flown to the US before but terminated after the destination airport, I've never gone on to a connecting flight, so I don't know  

[Edited 2005-06-16 13:14:08]


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User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4660 times:

Quoting Jamman (Reply 12):
I think that is the last flight of the day as well to ERI so I don't have that many options. Apart from going to CLE but that would be a 2 hour drive to Erie after that

Since you're on US... if you would do something like that, go to PIT instead. Probably cheaper than CLE, an easier drive (straight up 79 through the middle of nowhere in Northwest PA), and you'll fly either mainline (no terminal F) or a brand spankin new E-170.


User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4654 times:

I see the forum police moved this thread now... I thought I was going crazy for a minute when I couldn't find it... they should send IM's to all the posters of the threads they move so that the people don't go crazy looking for them.

User currently offlineJamman From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 142 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4655 times:

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 16):
I see the forum police moved this thread now... I thought I was going crazy for a minute when I couldn't find it... they should send IM's to all the posters of the threads they move so that the people don't go crazy looking for them.

I know, I wasn't really asking for a poll, just some advice and if PHL was that bad an airport, I suppose it did go off topic a tad and the mods need to do their job I suppose, atleast they e-mailed me!  Smile



Phoning it in from a place with no phones.
User currently offlineQantas777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 484 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (9 years 4 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 4584 times:

the airport sucks, only thing that saves it is the intl terminal A. otherwise go somewhere else. i hate mocking my hometown airport, but the airport really stinks. Maybe its just the fact that use less airways is still there?

fly to BWi or ATL and connect to airtran.


User currently offlineUAalltheway From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (9 years 4 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4570 times:

Quoting ThreadStarted:
PHL, Is It Really That Bad?

Not if you're madly in love with cheesesteaks!

But seriously, I've connected through there quite a few times with US Air and it's really not that bad at all. You should be fine. And if it saves you money to go through, definitly do it!  Wink


User currently offlineAirbus3801 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1089 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (9 years 4 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4566 times:

My only time there was with HP and I absolutly hated the place and coudn't wait to get off the ground. Minimal seating, minimal shops, and just the greatest place for summer T-Storms as well as any other weather delay. I would take any of the neighboring airports way over PHL.

User currently offlineJamman From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 142 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (9 years 4 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4563 times:

Quoting UAalltheway (Reply 19):
But seriously, I've connected through there quite a few times with US Air and it's really not that bad at all. You should be fine. And if it saves you money to go through, definitly do it!



Quoting Airbus3801 (Reply 20):
My only time there was with HP and I absolutly hated the place and coudn't wait to get off the ground.

Arrgh!  Smile you guys, your confusing me!  spin  (its not hard to)

Well what ever happens now it looks like I'm going through PHL as the price is right with US, I just hope they get my baggage to where its supposed to be, that seems like the biggest problem with PHL. I'll take the rough with the smooth!



Phoning it in from a place with no phones.
User currently offlineUAalltheway From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (9 years 4 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4554 times:

Man up! you can handle it!  Wink :p

User currently offlineJamman From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 142 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 4512 times:

After all that discussion about PHL I've opted to fly with AA on the route MAN > ORD > CLE, the reason? well money mainly, AA's fare dropped by close to £100, I couldn't ignore that. I'll probably go though PHL in the early next year.
So I'm getting to fly on a 763, EMB and a CRJ all with American and American Eagle which are all firsts for me and I've got nearly a 4 hour layover at ORD so I'm looking forward to that!  Smile

Regards.



Phoning it in from a place with no phones.
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