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Philadelphia International Airport Check-In, Security and Parking Tips

Essential Information for Travelers Flying Out of Philadelphia International


Philadelphia International Airport is on track to eclipse its record 31.5 million passengers in 2006. Travelers should become familiar with these pre-flight, check-in, security and parking procedures from the City's Director of Aviation to save themselves both time and aggravation.

Before Arriving at the Airport

  • Check the status of your flight by contacting your airline, or calling 1-800-PHL-GATE, or logging onto the Airport's website and clicking on Flight Information.

  • Make sure you have all necessary documents, including a government-issued photo ID such as a valid driver's license, passport, military ID, or a county, state or federal government agency employee ID. Photo ID is required for passengers 18 and older.

  • Passengers should arrive at the Airport at least 2 hour prior to a domestic departure and 3 hours prior to an international departure.

    During the summer, you should allow extra time for checking in and passing through security screening. Comment: Lines at US Airways are often very long especially during morning peak hours and holidays.

At the Airport

  • Checked baggage is subject to hand inspection. The Transportation Security Administration recommends using locks that TSA screeners can open and re-lock to inspect baggage instead of breaking the lock. The TSA lists some "accepted and recognized locks" on its website.Comment: Due to new carry-on limitations, you may wish to consider locks to secure your valuables that now must be checked.

  • If you are not checking baggage, it may not be necessary to wait in line at the ticket counter to obtain a boarding pass. Many airlines allow passengers to check in and print boarding passes from their websites. Some airlines have check-in kiosks at the Airport. Check with your airline prior to leaving home.

Security Screening

  • Passengers must obtain boarding passes prior to entering the security checkpoint. Before entering the security checkpoint, have boarding passes and photo ID ready for inspection by TSA personnel and keep these documents available until you exit the checkpoint.

  • To expedite your passage through the checkpoint, empty all pockets and put these items in your carry-on bag, Comment: This tip will save you lots of time and aggravation.

  • At the checkpoint, the TSA provides bins in which to place personal items and outerwear such as jackets, suit jackets, sport coats, blazers and belts with metal buckles that must be removed and passed through the X-ray machine. Comment: In most cases you will also be asked to remove your shoes.

  • For passengers' convenience, the Airport provides clear plastic storage bags at each checkpoint to be used for small items that require screening.

  • Remove laptops and video cameras with cassettes from their cases and place them in the bin to be X-rayed.Comment: Keep a close eye on these items.

  • Equipment used to screen checked baggage damages undeveloped film. Pack undeveloped film in a carry-on bag. High speed and specialty film should be hand inspected at the security checkpoint. To facilitate hand-inspection, remove undeveloped film from the canister and pack in a clear plastic bag. Screening equipment will not affect digital cameras and electronic image storage cards.

  • Medication, including diabetes-related supplies and equipment, must be properly marked with a professionally printed label with your name and identifying the medication or manufacturer's name or pharmaceutical label.

  • For additional information on permitted and prohibited items, in both carry-on and checked baggage, and security screening, consult the TSA website or e-mail the TSA at PrepareForTakeoff@dhs.gov or call the TSA Consumer Response Center toll-free at 1-866-289-9673.

  • As of August 10, 2006 the following items may not be carried on your person on in your carry-on: no liquids or gels of any kind will be permitted at the security checkpoints or in carry-on baggage. This includes all beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, tooth paste, hair gel, perfumes and other items of similar consistency. This policy also includes liquid and gel products purchased as duty free. All liquid and gel items must be placed in checked baggage only.

    Customers may carry-on approved electronic devices such as personal computers, electronic games, and cell phones, except when traveling from or thru the United Kingdom.

    Exception: Baby formula or breast milk if a baby or small child is traveling; prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger's ticket; and insulin and essential other non-prescription medicines.

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