Insider's Guide to the Pittsburgh International Airport

What to expect at the Pittsburgh airport

Airplane landing
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The Pittsburgh International Airport is one of the world's most modern airport terminal complexes. Opened in October 1992, it services about 10 million passengers per year. The Pittsburgh Airport operates about 290 non-stop flights per day to 80 destinations and is served by 19 carriers.

Pittsburgh Airport
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Major Airlines at Pittsburgh Airport

About half of the flights flying in and out of Pittsburgh Airport are operated by U.S. Airways, which considers Pittsburgh a minor hub or "focus city." Other major U.S. airlines operating in Pittsburgh include Southwest, American, United, Delta, JetBlue, Northwest, AirTran, and Continental.

Airplane at Jetway
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Size & Location

The Pittsburgh International Airport sits on 12,900 acres and is the 4th largest airport in the country in terms of land mass (it is twice the size of downtown Pittsburgh). It is located 16 miles northwest of downtown Pittsburgh in Findley Township. Taxi and shuttle bus service connects the airport to downtown and suburban hotels.

Ranked Among the Best

Market research leader, JD Power and Associates named Pittsburgh International Airport among the top five airports in its two most recent customer satisfaction surveys. Conde Nast Traveler’s magazine has frequently named the Pittsburgh Airport among the best in the United States and in the world in its annual People's Choice Award.

The Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) is actually made up of two separate terminal buildings (the Landside Terminal and the Airside Terminal) connected by two underground tramways. Both passenger buildings at the Pittsburgh Airport feature high speed, automated walkways, escalators, elevators and people movers.

Landside Terminal

The Landside Terminal is where passengers arrive at the Pittsburgh Airport, and houses ticketing, security, and baggage operations. It is linked to the short term and long term parking lots with an enclosed, climate-controlled moving walkway. The Landside Terminal (meaning before security) has three levels:

  • The top level, or ticketing level, is where you buy your tickets and check your bags. You will arrive directly at this level if you are dropped off at Passenger Departures or if you arrive by taxi or by a shuttle bus from the long-term or extended long-term parking lots. If you come in from the parking lot or garage via the moving walkway, you will have to go up one level via elevator or escalator to reach ticketing. Once you have checked in to your flight you will then proceed down one level to the transit level.
  • The middle level, or transit level, is where you will go through the security gates. This level also contains several shops, eateries, a bank, ATM machines and the walkway to the parking lots and garage. This level also is where you will get on the people mover -- most people call it the train -- to the Airside Terminal and your gate.
  • The lower level, or baggage claim level contains the baggage claim area for arriving passengers. It is also where you'll find ground transportation services, including taxis, shuttle buses, and airport shuttle service.

    Airside Terminal

    The Airside Terminal includes 75 jet gates, the Airmall, which features local, national and international retailers and a Food Court offering a variety of sit-down restaurants and fast food eateries. It consists of a large atrium with four concourse arms stretching out like an X (see terminal map). Concourse A (gates 1-25) and Concourse B (gates 26-50) are used almost entirely by USAirways, although Southwest also operates out of Concourse A. Concourse C (gates 51-61) serves a variety of other domestic airlines, including Air Canada, AirTran, JetBlue, United, and a few US Airways International flights.

    Concourse D (gates 76-89) is occupied by American, Continental, Delta, Midwest, and Northwest.

    Moving sidewalks move along each Concourse arm and can move a deplaning passenger from plane to parking in 11 minutes. If you are wondering what happened to gates 62-75 and 90-100, they have been left open for future expansion.

    Connected directly to the Landside Terminal is Concourse E, formerly used for US Airways Express commuter flights before their consolidation following the reduction in air travel after September 11, 2001. Concourse E is no longer used for airline arrivals and departures but occasionally serves as an auxiliary security checkpoint during peak travel periods.

    Checking in for Your Flight

    Flight check-in is available on the upper floor of the Landside Terminal. You have to check in here if you have any bags to check. If you're flying with only carry-on bags, look for one of the numerous self-check-in ticket kiosks. These machines allow you to insert your ID - usually a valid credit card for validation - and print a boarding pass without having to wait in line at the check-in counter. At Pittsburgh International Airport the Flight Desk Kiosks work for multiple airlines and are conveniently located throughout the Airside Terminal.

    Four are on the transit level, just before the security checkpoint, two on the baggage claim level, and two on the ticketing level.

    Pittsburgh Airport Security
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    Getting Through Security

    At the Pittsburgh airport, you'll pass through the Security Gates before arriving at the Airside Terminal. Individuals without a boarding pass are not allowed past this security checkpoint. The security lines are generally not very long, except at peak times. You can check the current security line online to help you plan your arrival time.

    To avoid any delays:

    • Make sure any sharp objects, files, scissors or other prohibited items are in your checked bags. See Packing Your Carry On for a list of permitted and prohibited items.
    • Be prepared to remove your shoes, belt, watch, and anything that has a substantial metal content. Bins are provided to keep loose items together.
    • Remove your laptop from its case or bag, and place that in a separate bin.
    • Keep your airport ID and boarding pass available to show any of the TSA security screeners.

    Getting From Security to Your Gate

    The People Mover, or subway train, arrives at the Airside Terminal on the lower level. An escalator then leads up two levels to the Airside Core. The retail mall and all four jet concourses are located on this level. A passenger information center is located right in the center of the terminal flanked by video banks on each side providing up-to-date arrival and departure information.

    On the way up to the concourse level, you'll pass another small level. This middle level of the Airside Terminal contains the Airport Fitness center plus access to customs and immigration.

    Passenger Information: What to Expect

    Baggage Claim

    Baggage Claim at the Pittsburgh International Airport is conveniently located in the lower level of the Landside Terminal. Once your plane arrives, just follow the signs to Baggage Claim which will include riding the tram from the Airside Terminal to the Landside Terminal, and heading directly down the escalator in front of you after you pass through the security checkpoint. Once you arrive in Baggage Claim, you will find overhead monitors to your right and left. US Airways baggage all comes in on one side and the other side is for all other airlines.

    If you have oversized luggage such as skis, golf clubs, car seats and large boxes and don't see them arrive with the rest of your luggage, then be sure to check the special carousels set aside for oversized luggage.

    If your luggage doesn't arrive or if there is damage, then the airlines also offer baggage claim offices right in the baggage claim area.

    Ground Transportation

    Ground transportation at the Pittsburgh Airport operates out of the lower level of the Landside Terminal, in the Baggage Claim area.

    • Car Rental - Car rental counters are located on the Baggage Claim level of the Landside terminal and offer rentals from major agencies, including Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty. From the rental counter, it is just a short walk to pick up your rental car in the lower level of the airport's attached covered garage. This is also where you will return your rental car at the end of your stay.
    • Taxis & Shuttles - Taxis and shuttle services can be found just outside the doors of the Baggage Claim level. Check the signs before you exit, because one side of the building is for ground transportation, and the other side is for people picking up arriving passengers. Taxi companies at the airport include Checker Cab and Yellow Cab. The airport also offers several shuttle services. You can arrange for this service at the desks inside the Baggage Claim area. Some area airports also operate free shuttle service between their hotel and the airport.
    • Public Transportation - For inexpensive transportation to and from the airport, the 28X Airport Flyer bus runs to central Pittsburgh and Oakland. Beaver County Transit (BCTA) route 6 serves Rochester and Robinson.

    Picking up Arriving Passengers

    You may pick up passengers at the arrivals curb directly outside of baggage claim. You will not be able to stop and wait here in your vehicle, however, so this option is best for passengers who have already arrived and are waiting for you outside. If you need to wait for your party, park your car in short-term parking (it's only $1 for the first hour) and wait for your party at the security gate or inside of baggage claim.

    Tip! Before you leave to pick-up someone from the airport, check the Flight Arrivals page on to see if the flight is one time and which baggage carousel will be used.

    Baggage Claim & Ground Transportation

    Parking at the Pittsburgh International Airport isn't a hassle. A covered garage offers convenient access to the airport and protection for your car from the elements. Large long-term parking lots offer easy access to the airport via covered moving walkways and free luxury shuttle buses. Almost 10,000 available parking spaces make it easy to find a parking spot. The lots and garage are all paved and fully-lighted and offer disabled access. They are equipped with security surveillance cameras and are patrolled by the Allegheny County Police.

    All exit plazas at the Pittsburgh Airport accept American Express, Diners Club, Discover Card, Master Care and Visa. For frequent travelers, the GO FAST Pass allows you to exit the airport quickly through special GO FAST Pass lanes which read your card and automatically charge your registered credit card for the appropriate parking charges.

    Parking at the Pittsburgh Airport

    * Rates effective June 1, 2010

    Short-Term Parking Garage

    $1.00/first hour $3.00/each additional hour $24.00/daily maximum

    The short-term parking garage is ideal for dropping off and picking up travelers and for stays of under 24 hours. It is especially nice during bad weather and when you are running late for a flight!

    Long-Term Parking Lot

    $1.00/first hour $3.00/each additional hour $13.00 daily max

    An excellent alternative to the more expensive parking garage, especially since a covered moving walkway connects it directly with the Landside Terminal, this parking area is designed for travelers on short trips.

    Extended Long-Term Lot

    $8.00 daily max No hourly rates

    The extended lot is the most economical option and is best for travelers on trips of several days or more. This area is serviced on one end by the moving, covered walkway and by free, continuously running shuttle buses. The buses are accessed via ten heated shuttle stop shelters equipped with two-way communication to the parking office.

    When you park your car, be sure to take note of your parking location so that you can find it again when you return. I usually write it down on my parking card (it's safe because anyone who finds the card still won't know which card is yours). If you ever find yourself in the position where you have lost your card or don't know where you parked, however, don't despair. The parking authority tracks all license plates which come into and leave the parking area and can tell you when you came into the lot.

    If you are parked for more than a day, they even keep track of which cars are parked where!

    Pittsburgh Airport Valet Parking

    Valet parking is available at Pittsburgh International Airport seven days a week, 24-hours a day. No appointment is necessary. The valets will park and return your car for you, eliminating the hassle of looking for a parking spot. For an extra fee, they also offer additional services such as wash, detailing and oil change. For more information and current valet parking rates, or to make a reservation, call 412 472-3001 or view their Web site at Pittsburgh Valet Parking.

    Parking at the Pittsburgh Airport

    The Pittsburgh Airport is located about 20 miles west of downtown Pittsburgh.

    Directions to the Pittsburgh Airport

    From Downtown Pittsburgh

    Go through the Fort Pitt Tunnel and follow 279 South to Rt. 22/30 to Rt. 60 North (the same road, just changes names). Follow Rt. 60N approximately 6 miles to Airport Exit #6.

    From the North (Wexford, Erie, New York...)

    Follow airport signs on Southbound I-79 to Exit 16A, Rt. 60N to Airport. Travel approximately 12 miles to Airport Exit #6.

    From the East (Monroeville, PA Turnpike, Philadelphia...)

    Follow 376 West to Fort Pitt Bridge and Tunnel (follow overhead signs to the airport for the correct lanes). Go through the Fort Pitt Tunnel and follow 279 South to Rt. 22/30 to Rt. 60 North (the same road, just changes names). Follow Rt. 60N approximately 6 miles to Airport Exit #6.

    From the South (Washington, PA; West Virginia; Washington D.C.)

    Follow Northbound I-79 to Exit #15 (Route 22/30, Rt.60 - same road) towards the airport. Bear left to follow Rt. 60N. Travel for approximately 6 miles to Airport Exit #6.

    From the West via Rt. 60 (Youngstown, OH; Cleveland, OH)

    Follow I-76 (Turnpike) to PA60-TollS towards Beaver/Pittsburgh. Follow PA60-TollS approximately 26.7 miles to Airport Exit#6.

    From the West via Rt. 22/30 (Weirton, WV; Steubenville, OH)

    Follow US-22E to US-30W/PA-978S exit towards Imperial/Oakdale. Turn left off of exit ramp onto US-30/Bateman Road/PA-978 and stay straight onto US-30. At light (5-way intersection) turn right (not the hardest right) onto West Allegheny Road. Follow approximately 1.0 miles and turn right onto McClaren Road. Follow 1.7 miles to PA-60N ramp towards Airport/Beaver. Merge onto PA 60-N and follow 2.3 miles to Airport Exit #6.

    Directions from[/i the Pittsburgh Airport]

    To Downtown Pittsburgh

    Exit Airport onto Rt. 60 S toward Pittsburgh. Follow approximately 16 miles and then follow Rt. 279 through the Fort Pitt Tunnel and into Downtown Pittsburgh.

    To the North (Wexford, Erie, New York...)

    Exit Airport onto Rt. 60S towards Pittsburgh. Take Exit #1B-Crafton and follow Steubenville Pike/Rt. 60S to I-79N.

    To the East (Oakland, Monroeville, PA Turnpike, Philadelphia...)

    Exit Airport onto Rt. 60 S toward Pittsburgh. Follow approximately 16 miles and then follow Rt. 279 through the Fort Pitt Tunnel. Exit on the right-hand ramp after crossing the Fort Pitt Bridge, following signs for Rt. 376 toward Monroeville (approximately 11 miles from Downtown). The exit for Oakland is along this route, just a few miles from Downtown. To continue to points further east, follow signs in Monroeville to the PA Turnpike, I-76E.

    To the South (Washington, PA; West Virginia; Washington D.C.)

    Exit Airport onto Rt. 60S towards Pittsburgh. Follow approximately 10 miles to Exit #2 to Washington/I-79 South. I-79S will also take you to I-70 where you can exit East toward New Stanton, PA/Washington, D.C. or West toward Wheeling, WV.

    To the West via Rt. 60 (Youngstown, OH; Cleveland, OH)

    Exit Airport onto Rt. 60N toward Beaver Falls, (Beaver Valley Expressway). Connect with I-76 West I-680 to Youngstown and into I-80 (or bypass Youngstown and continue on I-76 to I-80 toward Cleveland).

    To the West via Rt. 22/30 (Weirton, WV; Steubenville, OH)

    Exit Airport onto Rt. 60 S toward Pittsburgh. Follow about 2.6 miles to McClaren Road (Exit #4). Turn right onto McClaren Road and follow 1.5 miles to West Allegheny Road. Turn left on West Allegheny Rd. and follow 1 mile to light (5-way intersection). Turn left (not the hardest left) onto US-30 and follow 0.1 mile to US-22W ramp towards Weirton, WV/Steubenville, OH. For a quicker route, exit the airport onto toll-road I-576 for a 6-mile direct trip to US-22W.

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