Philadelphia: Gateway to the U.S.

May 18, 2022

A desirable destination, Philadelphia has never been easier to visit. With nonstop service from hubs across Europe on major international carriers, and a central location just over ninety miles from New York City and approximately 140 miles from Washington, D.C., the City of Brotherly Love’s location on the East Coast makes it a preferred entry point for travelers.

Traveling to Philadelphia is Simple

Sunrise view from the Philadelphia International Airport tower. Photo courtesy of Philadelphia International Airport.

As American Airlines’ transatlantic gateway, Philadelphia plays an important role in connecting travelers between destinations throughout the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, Canada and Mexico.

Both year-round and seasonal service is available from major hubs such as Doha (via Qatar Airways) and across Europe including Frankfurt (via Lufthansa), London-Heathrow (via American Airlines and British Airways), Dublin (via American Airlines and Aer Lingus), Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Lisbon, Madrid, Rome, Athens, Venice, and Zurich.

Airport Information desk.
Photo by D. Rosenblum for Philadelphia International Airport.

Once landing at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), the Customs experience is quick and easy. PHL has two dozen automated passport kiosks to keep things running as efficiently as possible. The Office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection monitors average wait time (AWT) at American airports and Philadelphia International Airport works hard to reduce the AWT per passenger going through Passport Control.

As of November 2021, the average wait in Philadelphia is 15 minutes. By comparison, the wait at JFK International Airport in New York City is 22 minutes and 16 minutes at Boston Logan International Airport.

After clearing Customs, grab an Official Philadelphia Visitors Guide and a Philadelphia International Visitors Guide (available in English, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian, French, Japanese and Chinese) for all you need to know about exploring Philadelphia.

Easy to Get Around

The Philadelphia International Airport Line stops every 30 minutes at each terminal. Photo courtesy of SEPTA.

Center City Philadelphia is just over 12 miles away from Philadelphia International Airport. The airport line from Philadelphia’s public transportation system, SEPTA, provides service from every terminal of the airport to Center City every 30 minutes. The ride is 25 minutes with a one-way fare. Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours provides airport shuttles to and from the airport for individuals and groups. Ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft are also available in Philadelphia.

Walkable City

Quince Street, Washington Square West. Photo by JPG Photo & Video.

Philadelphia is consistently ranked as one of the most walkable cities in the nation. Thanks to founder William Penn’s smart and simple grid street design, the heart of the city is easy to navigate. The Schuylkill and Delaware rivers border Center City’s 25 blocks on the west and east. South of Market Street, streets running east and west are named after trees while north and south streets are numbered.

Explore Philadelphia’s distinct, walkable neighborhoods with the help of one of our custom itineraries, tailored to suit a variety of interests, including Unexpected, By-The-Book, Luxurious, Art Lovers and Family-Friendly. For the full list of itineraries, click here.

COVID-19 Testing

If you need to be tested for COVID-19 during your stay in Philadelphia or are required to show a negative test in order to board a plane to return home, rest assured. Multiple testing sites are available throughout the city. You can find a testing site near you using this interactive map on the City of Philadelphia’s website. There is also an on-site testing clinic operated by Jefferson Health and Rapid Available Testing at Philadelphia International Airport, located in the pre-security area of Terminal E. The site offers multiple types of tests, including a rapid antigen test, a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, and Rapid PCR test.

For more on what you can expect when you arrive, consult our guide: International Essentials for Traveling to Philadelphia.

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