Philadelphia International • The city of brotherly love for shopping
Welcome to the biggest airport in Pennsylvania.That status is hardly surprising considering 31 million people made use of one or other of the airport’s four runways in 2010. And it’s only going to get bigger: in December 2010, a 13-year, $5.2 billion project kicked off that aims to extend two of the runways, add another one, and build two new terminals. Yet it’s not as if the airport wasn’t big enough, and hectic enough, as it is.Sprawling Philadelphia International Airport has no less than seven terminal buildings (Terminals A East and A West, then all the way up to F). The layout of the terminals puts you in mind of a six-legged anteater (well, it might now I’ve said it).
The airport is US Airways’ biggest international hub, and the airline operates primarily out of Terminals B and C, between which, perhaps not coincidentally, is where the largest retail and dining complex of the entire airport is placed (somewhere near the anteater’s belly, if you will). And it is very large. Dubbed the B/C Connector, this space holds the Philadelphia Marketplace. The good news is that it is connected to all the other terminals; indeed all terminals, and their respective concourses, are physically interconnected airside. with the The notable exception is of Terminal F, which is linked to the others by a shuttle bus.
The two Terminal As, being the main terminals for international flights, are the place to find the duty free shops. International Terminal A West boasts two International Shoppes/Duty Free stores (near Gates A14 and A18), with another two around Concourse A East (near Gates A7 and A14). Frankly, this is a bit of a wonderland for travellers looking to snap up a range of tax free luxury goods. These stores carry the wide range of top-end brands that you would expect of a major airport duty free offering, including liquors like Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, plus a range of single malt whiskies and champagnes such as Moët & Chandon. In their own words, however: “International Shoppes places a tremendous emphasis on fashion and luxury”.
What this means for you is a fabulous range of prestige fragrances and colognes from brands such as Hermés, Lancôme, Hugo Boss, Chanel, YSL, Armani and Estée Lauder, plus skincare and beauty products from luxury brands including Clarins, Clinique and L’Occitane. A fine collection of timepieces is also available at tax-free prices from the craftsmen of Tag Heuer and Montblanc, not to mention exquisite jewellery pieces from Bulgari and Cartier, to name just a very few. Elsewhere in the airport are several Sunglass Huts (one is in the B/C Connector, the other in the D/E Connector), where you can add to your fashion collection with classic or modern frames from Ray-Ban, Oakley, Dolce & Gabbana and Prada.If electronics is more to your taste, head for any one of several InMotion Entertainment stores (one in the B/C Connector, the other in the D/E Connector), with cutting-edge cameras, MP3 players and tablet computers from brands such as Samsung, Sony and Panasonic. Or try the Wireless Giant store in the B/C Connector for the latest in Blackberry products and services.If all this shopping is making you hungry and thirsty, you have a dizzying array of food options spread before you. For those with a powerful appetite, this is your chance to grab yourself a local speciality • an authentic Philly cheesesteak from one of several Philly Steak & Gryo restaurants at the B/C Connector or Concourse C. Or consider lobster from Legal Sea Foods in the B/C Connector. For a smaller, more subtle plate, try the cheese and cured meat selection at one of the airport’s four Vino Volo wine specialists, along with a splendid glass of hand-selected wine. But these are just a taste of what you can expect from the huge range of food options among the airport’s 160 or so shops and dining concessions.
If ever there was an airport where you wished there was a little more time to linger, Philadelphia International Airport is it.