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Old Aug 26, 10, 6:59 am   #1
 
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Help needed for connecting flight at PHL (flight US759, ATH-PHL-LGA)

Greetings everybody. This is my first post on the forum...!

In early September I will be on US759, US Airways international flight, from ATH to LGA, with a plane change in PHL. Since I am a Greek citizen and this is my first time in the USA I am expecting a customs/immigration check at PHL (I have already obtained my ESTA approval). According to my ticket I arrive at PHL at 16:00, at terminal B and my next flight to LGA leaves at 17:55, from terminal F. I will have a suitcase (handed over to check-in in ATH) and carry a medium backpack in the cabin (filled with an SLR camera, a netbook and some light clothes).

1.What are the exact steps I need to take from the point the plane lands at PHL up to the point of getting on the next plane to LGA?

2. In customs check are they going to get really curious in examining/asking about my netbook and SLR camera? Do you thing that these going to be a considerable delaying factor for me?

3. I am looking at PHL map but I can't figure out where is the exact waiting point for the shuttle bus to terminal F, after I clear customs/immigration. Can anybody help me with this? How far away (in terms of time) from terminal B is terminal F? How often shuttle busses pass in general?

4. Is 01:55 an adequate time range in order to timely make it to my next flight to LGA? In case I got delayed at customs/immigration, thus won't make it to my next flight, will US Airways put me on the next available flight to LGA or will I loose my ticket? What if all next available flights are already fully booked with passengers? In this case, can I instead choose to fly to JFK or EWR on the same ticket?

5. Is there anything else that I should keep in mind as regards this flight?

Since this is my first US visit and I am a bit anxious with the timeframes I would really appreciate any help.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Aug 26, 10, 7:21 am   #2
 
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Welcome to FT, scharal!

You will find most of your questions answered by the very comprehensive A US Guide to PHL thread. Please read the first post thoroughly and you will get pretty much everything you need.
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Originally Posted by scharal View Post
2. In customs check are they going to get really curious in examining/asking about my netbook and SLR camera? Do you thing that these going to be a considerable delaying factor for me?
Not in the least. You will have to remove the computer from your bag when you put it through the X-ray machine, but that's it.
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Originally Posted by scharal View Post
4. Is 01:55 an adequate time range in order to timely make it to my next flight to LGA?
It is at the lower end of "adequate," but you should be fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scharal View Post
In case I got delayed at customs/immigration, thus won't make it to my next flight, will US Airways put me on the next available flight to LGA?
Yes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scharal View Post
What if all next available flights are already fully booked with passengers?
They will give you the next available seat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scharal View Post
In this case, can I instead choose to fly to JFK or EWR on the same ticket?
Possibly, but this will involve some arguing with US. I would not worry too much about not getting on the next flight to LGA; I just checked today's flights and there are still seats available on 7 flights between 15:55-22:50.
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Old Aug 26, 10, 7:44 am   #3
 
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thanks travelmad478! I will also check your link.
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Old Aug 26, 10, 8:36 am   #4
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scharal, welcome to FlyerTalk! As some of your questions involve Philadelphia Airport, more than US Air, I'll move your thread to our Mid-Atlantic Travel forum, for further discussion, esp. as to your Qs. 1 and 3. Ocn Vw 1K, Moderator, TravelBuzz.
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Old Aug 26, 10, 11:06 am   #5
 
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Hopefully you found some good information in the PHL airport thread. I'll take a stab at some of these questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by scharal View Post
1.What are the exact steps I need to take from the point the plane lands at PHL up to the point of getting on the next plane to LGA?
Follow the crowd to Customs. Go through customs, claim your luggage and drop off your forms. After you do this, keep to the right to drop your checked luggage, then you'll have to go through security again. (Reminder to check any liquids you may have purchased duty-free on the plane.) This will take you back to terminal A.

Quote:
2. In customs check are they going to get really curious in examining/asking about my netbook and SLR camera? Do you thing that these going to be a considerable delaying factor for me?
Unlikely

Quote:
3. I am looking at PHL map but I can't figure out where is the exact waiting point for the shuttle bus to terminal F, after I clear customs/immigration. Can anybody help me with this? How far away (in terms of time) from terminal B is terminal F? How often shuttle busses pass in general?
Once you are back airside, look for signs in the A terminal for the shuttle over to F. You cannot walk from A to F and still remain airside. The shuttle runs every 10-15 minutes.

Everything else answered by travelmad478 is spot on.
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Old Aug 26, 10, 12:04 pm   #6
 
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Welcome to FlyerTalk scharal. If you do miss your connection due to Customs, and while US is rebooking you on the next flight, ask about a meal voucher. Depending upon the individual reissuing your ticket US may or may not issue a meal voucher. It will only be worth between $7 - $10 and can be used at any food stand in the airport.

I don't know if you found the PHL Airport link which will provide related info on the various terminals and transiting between terminals.
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Old Aug 26, 10, 3:51 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
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Welcome to FlyerTalk scharal. If you do miss your connection due to Customs, and while US is rebooking you on the next flight, ask about a meal voucher. Depending upon the individual reissuing your ticket US may or may not issue a meal voucher. It will only be worth between $7 - $10 and can be used at any food stand in the airport.

I don't know if you found the PHL Airport link which will provide related info on the various terminals and transiting between terminals.
thanks about that tip Italy98...I didn't know about the voucher.
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Old Aug 26, 10, 4:01 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bitburgr View Post
Follow the crowd to Customs. Go through customs, claim your luggage and drop off your forms. After you do this, keep to the right to drop your checked luggage, then you'll have to go through security again. (Reminder to check any liquids you may have purchased duty-free on the plane.) This will take you back to terminal A.
so, I first go through customs and then I claim my luggage? I though it was the other way around...

also, immigration check (keep in mind that I am not a US citizen) is after customs or before customs? when you say I drop my checked luggage you mean checking-in with US Airways for my next flight to LGA? How this is possible since I would still be at terminal B (or A) and my next flight leaves from terminal F?
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Old Aug 26, 10, 6:13 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scharal View Post
so, I first go through customs and then I claim my luggage? I though it was the other way around...

also, immigration check (keep in mind that I am not a US citizen) is after customs or before customs? when you say I drop my checked luggage you mean checking-in with US Airways for my next flight to LGA? How this is possible since I would still be at terminal B (or A) and my next flight leaves from terminal F?
I think there may have been some confusion between immigration and customs....of course you will go through immigration first, then collect your checked bags, go through customs and then re-check your bags, and then you can either go back through security to the A terminal (although theoretically you could at this point go outside and reenter at the terminal of your choosing - but its a long hike outside to the F terminal) and catch the shuttle to the F terminal.
Note: after clearing security in the A terminal, if you find you have lots of spare time before your next flight and want to get a bite to eat, I would recommend doing so before going to the F terminal where the dining options are more limited. There are good dining options in the A terminal (particularly A-west) or in the connector between B and C.

Edit: in looking again at your post above: when you re-check your bags after clearing customs, that simply involves handing your bags back to a uniformed baggage handler. You don't actually have to stand in line and check in again for your flight. If you already have your boarding pass for your flight to LGA then you can proceed to your next gate.
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Last edited by rittenhousesq; Aug 26, 10 at 6:20 pm..
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Old Aug 26, 10, 6:23 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scharal View Post
also, immigration check (keep in mind that I am not a US citizen)
Do be aware that at immigration/passport control you will be fingerprinted and have your photo taken, and possibly have one or two general questions - usually along the lines of have you been to the US before and maybe where is your final destination.
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Old Aug 27, 10, 1:38 am   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rittenhousesq View Post
I think there may have been some confusion between immigration and customs....of course you will go through immigration first, then collect your checked bags, go through customs and then re-check your bags, and then you can either go back through security to the A terminal (although theoretically you could at this point go outside and reenter at the terminal of your choosing - but its a long hike outside to the F terminal) and catch the shuttle to the F terminal.
Note: after clearing security in the A terminal, if you find you have lots of spare time before your next flight and want to get a bite to eat, I would recommend doing so before going to the F terminal where the dining options are more limited. There are good dining options in the A terminal (particularly A-west) or in the connector between B and C.

Edit: in looking again at your post above: when you re-check your bags after clearing customs, that simply involves handing your bags back to a uniformed baggage handler. You don't actually have to stand in line and check in again for your flight. If you already have your boarding pass for your flight to LGA then you can proceed to your next gate.
Thanks rittenhousesq, it is much clearer now for me.

One more thing...when I booked my ticket I went through US airways web site and choose windowed seat 24G (one of the last rows of the 767) for my ATH-PHL leg of the trip. However, now that I go through the details of my flight I realize that my timeframe would be very limited, from the point I land to PHL to the point I'll get on the next plane to LGA. A seat towards to the front of the plane would be much more preferable in order to gain a few more minutes after landing...of course now, only one week before my flight, the only front seats that I could find in the US web site is some middle seats and also aisle "choice seats" (have to pay a $30 extra for that one. pros: more legroom since it is behind an exit row, cons: no window…).

If I had to choose I would give higher priority to gain a few more minutes after landing in order to make it to my connecting flight to LGA instead of my comfort (by choosing the middle seat) or the window option (by choosing isle).

Questions:
Would it make any significant difference if I decide to move forward to the front rows of the plane? How much time would this gain me in customs/immigration/luggage? What would you do in my position...take the middle seat and pay no extra cash, take the aisle seat and pay an additional $30 (and have the extra legroom) or stay in the windowed seat originally booked?
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Old Aug 27, 10, 8:42 am   #12
 
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Originally Posted by scharal View Post
If I had to choose I would give higher priority to gain a few more minutes after landing in order to make it to my connecting flight to LGA instead of my comfort (by choosing the middle seat) or the window option (by choosing isle).
I don't think you'll have any problem making your next flight no matter where you are sitting. Considering you are taking a transatlantic (LONG) flight, I'd definitely opt for greater comfort on the plane vs. the extra 3-4 minutes you'd gain by sitting farther forward. It won't be a significant amount of time. By the time everyone gets to the immigration hall, where you will be choosing among a dozen or more lines to wait in, row numbers are pretty meaningless anyway. Try instead to hone your skills at picking the speediest immigration officer
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Old Aug 30, 10, 1:30 pm   #13
 
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I think you will arrive in Terminal A from ATH.
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Old Aug 31, 10, 2:12 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayBrian View Post
I think you will arrive in Terminal A from ATH.
according to my booking receipt, I arrive at terminal B of the PHL.

can anyone else give his imput on my question to change seats for a price?

also, do you think hurricane Earl will afect my flight in any way (I fly this Saturday, September 4th)?
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Old Aug 31, 10, 3:48 am   #15
 
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Exclamation

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Originally Posted by scharal View Post
according to my booking receipt, I arrive at terminal B of the PHL.
Usually all international flights arrive at Terminal A in PHL, as i think it's the only terminal with immigration facilities.

Check the arrival times as PHL around your own arrival to estimate the crowd in the arrivals hall. I once was in line for about 1 hour (immigration). But it was me to blame, as I went to the restroom after arrival and before the immigration hall.

Maybe GoEnvoy could be interesting for you as well instead a choice seat. But call the US Reservation, as they charge you in US$, which is cheaper again as being charged in €.
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