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susie Jan 13th, 2004 12:53 PM

Philadelphia connection question
I just returned from Madrid on Friday with a connection in PHL (2+ hour layover). We arrived early at PHL from Madrid and got through immigration and customs in about 20 minutes. We then spent nearly 2 hours in the security line for internationally connecting passengers and nearly missed our connecting flight to RDU. The plane was already loaded when we got to the gate (B1).

My question: Could we have simply exited terminal A as if PHL were our destination and returned to the departure hall with newly departing passengers? We already had boarding passes and had already re-checked our luggage. I was told by passengers on our final leg that the security lines for newly departing passengers were quite short. Each time we connect through PHL, this problem seems to getting worse. Is this a viable solution?

buongiorno Jan 13th, 2004 01:14 PM

I don't think so...because Raliegh is a domestic flight you would have to go through customs. Unless your connecting gate is in Terminal A to another international destination you have to go through customs.

susie Jan 13th, 2004 01:20 PM

Maybe I wasn't clear. We had already cleared customs and immigration and came to a fork in the hallway. To the left you could exit the terminal, to the right you got into this endless line for connecting passengers. I was just wondering if I could avoid this long line by exiting and returning to the departure hall where the security lines were much shorter.

kayd Jan 13th, 2004 01:38 PM

Susie -- I've had the same experience at PHL and wonder why passengers coming out of the immigration/customs area need screening at all if they don't leave the terminal. Couldn't there be a secure passageway between that terminal and the others, like they have between concourses A and B (or whatever they are called at PHL)?

Or is re-screening required of arriving international passengers at all US airports? My only other experience is at JFK, where the terminals are different free-standing buildings, so new screening is obviously necessary after you've been outdoors, but what about other places where international arrivals is in the same building as other gates?

I too heard (too late) that you'll find shorter lines if you do not take the direct route from international arrivals to the domestic flights at PHL. I'll certainly look for the longer, quicker way on my next trip.

mkf99 Jan 13th, 2004 02:32 PM

I have experienced this same thing more than once in Philly. Once, when connecting in PHL from Paris, my flight from Paris was late and the security line for connecting passengers was so long, I would have missed my connection had I stayed. I asked a security guard who directed me to go outside and cut across the train platform and go in the doors on the opposite side. This takes you into the Gate B concourse. When I arrived at my gate, passengers were already boarding, but I made it.

LarryJ Jan 13th, 2004 02:46 PM

The answer to your question is yes. I have done just that.

Larry J

susie Jan 14th, 2004 05:35 AM

Thanks Larry and others. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't violating some security rule by bypassing this particular screening.

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