New Bill May Allow PHL Expansion to Move Forward

Image via Google Maps

Image via Google Maps

Public hearings are scheduled this week on legislation that could allow the city to proceed with expansion plans for Philadelphia International Airport by forcing a resolution to a longstanding disagreement with a neighboring landowner, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports. Read more »

PHL Airport Getting Fancy, Exclusive Lounge

New York - Centurion Lounge

The work area at the Amex Centurion Lounge at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport | Photo via thecenturionlounge.com

The PHL Airport is getting a nice lounge. But you’ll have to be an American Express Platinum cardmember to use it.

Travel blog One Mile at a Time broke the news earlier this week: Philadelphia is getting an Amex Centurion Lounge. Ben Schlappig writes that “these lounges are significantly better than what’s being offered directly by U.S. airlines,” and says one is scheduled to open at PHL in early August.

American Express did not immediately return a request for comment from Philadelphia magazine. There are currently Centurion Lounges at airports in Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. Read more »

Charge Your Electric Vehicle for Free* at PHL Airport Garages

Eco-conscious travelers who own electric cars can now take them to Philadelphia International Airport and leave them there knowing they will be fully charged when they get back to town, as the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) has installed seven electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at the airport.

Each station can charge two vehicles at a time, which means that up to 14 EVs can recharge while parked at the airport. Two of the stations are on Level 1 of Garage C, two are on Level 1 of Garage D, and the other three are located near the tollbooths at the exit from the Economy Parking lot. Read more »

PHL’s K9 Beagles: The Adorable Faces of National Security

From left: K9s Mattie, Auburn and Yoshi. Photo | Dan McQuade

From left: PHL K9s Mattie, Auburn and Yoshi. Photo | Dan McQuade

If you step off the plane at PHL after a long international flight this holiday season, there’ll be someone there waiting for you when you walk into baggage claim: An adorable, cuddly beagle.

While you’re waiting for your luggage, as many as three of these little guys could be wandering around baggage claim looking impossibly cute. But these dogs are not here to cheer you up after a weary trip. The beagles are working. They’re sniffing your luggage to see if you brought any food from overseas.

The beagles at PHL are part of Customs and Border Protection. They’re agriculture K9s. While other dogs hunt for explosives and drugs, the beagles at baggage claim are only trained to sniff out food. Travelers coming in from foreign countries are banned from bringing many foods into the U.S. Those who have food must declare it to a CBP officer. Read more »

Adorable Beagle Sniffs Out Currency, Plants on “Trusted” Traveler at PHL

Customs Beagle Auburn - and what she seized

K9 Auburn, a beagle working for Customs and Border Protection, sniffed out undeclared plants and $39,715 in unreported currency at PHL Airport on Thursday. (Photos: CBP)

A woman traveling from Greece attempting to bring undeclared plants and nearly $40,000 worth of unreported currency into Philadelphia was caught — by a cute little beagle.

K9 Auburn, an agriculture detection dog with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), discovered the plants last Thursday after a flight from Athens landed in Philadelphia. The woman, who is from the United States, was a “trusted” traveler in the Global Entry program. This allows “low-risk” travelers to enter the United States at an automated kiosk; applicants undergo a detailed background check and submit to an in-person interview.

Customs seized $39,715 from the woman. She was also fined $500 for the plants and had her trusted traveler privileges revoked. Her name has not been released because she was not criminally charged. K9 Auburn was rewarded with her favorite dog treat, per CBP. Read more »

Frontier Airlines Adds Non-Stop Philly Flights

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Frontier Airlines is once again expanding its presence at the Philadelphia International Airport. The airline is adding non-stop flights from Philadelphia to Fort Myers, Fla., and Montego Bay, Jamaica starting on Oct. 25.

The new routes are part of a larger announcement by the company to add new flights from eight “leisure markets” throughout the United States and Caribbean. Read more »

The Brief: Airlines to Spend Up to $2 Billion More on PHL Improvements

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

1. A new lease agreement between airlines and the City of Philadelphia secures an additional $1.3-$2.1 billion in new airline spending at the airport and a $12 minimum for all PHL employees.

The gist: It took two years, but the city and the airlines operating out of Philadelphia International Airport have a new deal. It’ll last between five and seven years. Mayor Nutter signed off on it yesterday. The total overall value of the deal comes to $2.8 billion – $4 billion (depending on how long it runs), which includes as much as $2.1 billion in payments above and beyond the last deal, Wendy Ruderman reports for the Daily News.

By law, all that extra cash must be spent at the airport itself (sorry, schools). About $158 million is set aside for capital improvements at the airport, and as much as $750 million more could be spent on a single as-yet unannounced mega project. The rest will help the airlines “modernize operations,” though it’s not clear from the coverage what that means, exactly.

The big political stumbling block that was cleared in this deal is the requirement of a new $12 minimum wage for all airport employees, including those who work for the airlines through subcontractors. Securing that was a priority for City Council, which refused to sign off on an agreement that didn’t include that provision. Read more »

Jeremy Piven Says He Was Held “Hostage” on Stalled Plane at Philadelphia Airport

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Shutterstock.com

A British Airways flight traveling from London to New York City was diverted to Philadelphia Saturday due to bad weather, and one of the passengers, Entourage star Jeremy Piven, let the world know about it via Twitter.

According to philly.com, the hours-long ordeal started with the passengers being stuck on the runway for three hours. In a tweet that seems to have been deleted, Piven remarked: “Pilot refuses to fly to JFK here on British airways. People are starting to panic.”

Read more »

Airport Expansion Is Big for Philly Economy

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Shutterstock

Now that a long-awaited settlement between the Philadelphia International Airport and neighboring Tinicum Township is a done deal, it’s an interesting time to examine the potential economic impact of the airport’s expansion plan.

It features an extended runway to accommodate larger planes; a new “automated people mover system;” a consolidated rental car area to cut down on traffic; and a redesign to Terminals B and C (which I know from personal experience can get very busy).

Airport officials have been saying for quite some time that the economic impact of PHL would grow from $14.4 billion annually to $26.4 billion in 2025. CEO Mark Gale says he plans to release updated figures in the future.

Read more »

Big Idea: Rename PHL for Ben Franklin

“No other town, burying its great man, ever buried more of itself than Philadelphia with Franklin.”

—Carl Van Doren, 1938

The United States has buried many a great leader throughout its storied history.  The funerals of Presidents Washington, Lincoln (150 years ago this month), Roosevelt, Kennedy and Reagan immediately come to mind.

Among American leaders who never occupied the presidency, the burial of the slain Martin Luther King Jr. 47 years ago, also this April, was another moment of immense national sadness.

And in Philadelphia, precisely 225 years ago on April 21st, the city’s most internationally renowned citizen, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, was laid to rest at Christ Church Cemetery in the presence of 20,000 mourners who had gathered at the State House (now Independence Hall) to pay final respects to their friend and neighbor — without whose unsurpassed contributions to the American Revolution the United States might have never been born. Read more »

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