PHL connection time?
August 21, 2014 3:54 PM   Subscribe

On Thanksgiving Wednesday, we'll arrive at the Philadelphia airport, probably at terminal F (US Airways) at 8:15 in the morning. We leave 80 minutes later, probably from terminal B (US Airways, again). No checked luggage, pre-cleared for customs, just pick up bags and run. Given Thanksgiving craziness and picking up the shuttle to C-16 so we stay inside security, is this still doable? When does it become Thanksgiving hectic?

Never been in the US during Thanksgiving, have no idea what to expect in re: connection time.
posted by flibbertigibbet to Travel & Transportation around Tinicum Township, PA (9 answers total)
Best answer: Flights are booked solid starting the Saturday before Thanksgiving and it's jam packed throughout the week. Philly is a pretty dreadful airport especially when you go between terminals. But I think you can do it if your plane is on time. The comforting thing to know is that most arrival times are over-stated, a good tail wind can buy you an extra ten or twenty minutes.

Also, don't bet that the gates are going to be the same. Check the monitors! Gate changes happen all the time. Listen when your flight is coasting to the gate for gate information from the flight attendant. Also, Check the Monitors!

Grab a couple of pretzels while you're sprinting through the airport. You won't be sorry!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:00 PM on August 21, 2014

In case you didn't know, Terminal F is for US Airways Express, so if you're flying on a major route into Philly you will be on plain old vanilla US Airways and arrive in terminal B or C.
posted by ellenaim at 5:02 PM on August 21, 2014

Response by poster: Absolutely almost certainly coming in to Terminal F, because my inbound flight is an Express flight co-run by 3 different companies (US Airways Express and two minor ones), but one of the minor ones sometimes comes in at another terminal so it's possible it'll go somewhere else. Just not likely.

The connecting terminal is what's up in the air--US Airways non-Express seems to use everything from A-E, but the most common terminal I've seen for this flight has been B.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 5:06 PM on August 21, 2014

Best answer: My wife and I have flown from PHL the day before Thanksgiving before, and we made if from home through security in less than 20 minutes (not exaggerating). I was talking to the TSA folks and they said it had been busier earlier, but apparently the busy is very punctuated. And, for as major an airport as it is, PHL is surprisingly compact. With 80 minutes you will be absolutely fine.
posted by The Michael The at 5:28 PM on August 21, 2014

Best answer: I fly into PHL for the holidays frequently. It's actually pretty tiny considering the size of the market it serves. The only worry is the "pre-cleared for customs thing." If that breaks down, then it'll be a problem. Otherwise 80 minutes is fine.
posted by 26.2 at 5:33 PM on August 21, 2014

Best answer: 80 minutes is absolutely fine, as you won't have to go through customs or security again. Depending on where the gates are, how fast you walk, and how quickly the shuttle moves, it shouldn't take you more than 20 minutes to get to your gate.
posted by zachlipton at 5:48 PM on August 21, 2014

I basically live in PHL - 80 min to go from F to B/C should be fine- if that was the amount of time you actually had.

remember boarding starts about 20 min before take off- so cut that down to 60 minutes. Then - be aware if you are taking F terminal flights, you will probably have to gate check any roller bags you have (these are little commuter planes) so add another 20 minutes to deplane and for US Airways employees to unload and send out your roller bag.

Then maybe 10 minutes to wait for the shuttle between F and C - maybe 5 to actually go - and another 5-10 depending on walking pace to get to your gate in B.

So you really have about 15 minutes to go between your flights - which is doable. There is a people mover between B and C behind the shops which may be easier for you to navigate.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 5:55 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Honestly, this sounds iffy to me. I have missed connections to/from terminal F and regular gates. Aside from the fact that a short delay for any reason could kill your plan, realize that shuttle flights have very low on-time stats and high cancellation rates. When they don't fill up - they cancel and you wait for the next one ( and miss your connection, as if they cared ...).

I'm only a little bitter about the Xmas holiday I spent in one pair of underwear for a whole week because Useless Air and PHL. Really.

I now live 10 minutes from a PHL-shuttle airport, and I never, ever do it. I drive to Newark every time, for the much higher probability that I will execute the travel I actually planned.
posted by Dashy at 5:59 PM on August 21, 2014

Response by poster: So, it took maybe 15 minutes total from beginning of deplaning to arrival at our gate (C). Add our plane being ridiculously early, we were at our gate nearly one and a half hours early.

We also grabbed a pretzel, thanks!
posted by flibbertigibbet at 10:00 PM on November 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

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