PIT Airport not the Pits

Our 5th airport to build out for the tripchi airport mobile app is PIT Airport (Pittsburgh International Airport). It was kind of a spontaneous airport to decide to include, but we had the fortune of taking an extended layover through PIT Airport on the way back from IAD Airport (Washington-Dulles International Airport) in early Dec 2014. And we liked it so much from the perspective of an Airport 2.0, mall-like, content-driven concept, that we thought PIT Airport would be another interesting regional airport offering to include in the app (mobile website currently available here).

PIT Airport

PIT Airport

PIT Airport is the second busiest airport in Pennsylvania – and the 47th-busiest in the United States (8,041,357 enplaned passengers in 2012). Here are some fun facts about PIT:

  • Fun Fact #1: PIT airport has the longest runways of any commercial airport in PA at 11,500 feet (3,500 m).
  • Fun Fact #2: PIT is a US Airways hub, handling 26% of the airport’s traffic. Now that Southwest and AirTran have merged, combined they will have a larger share. Here’s a cool Southwest sign that can be found in the Southwest terminal.PIT Airport - Southwest AirlinesThe third largest airline at PIT Airport is Delta.
  • Fun Fact #3: PIT Airport is one of the largest airports by acreage in the US – its 12,900 acres (52 km2), makes it 4th, just behind Denver International Airport, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, and Orlando International Airport.
  • Fun Fact #4: PIT Airport is routinely listed on OAG Worldwide’s short list for the world’s best airport. Also, in 2011 Conde Nast Traveler ranked PIT Airport 7th best for business travelers.

This is not surprising considering the convenient and easy to navigate layout of the airport, with a central AirMall shopping center that is the hub to 4 concourse spokes. It’s a smaller scale version of Charlotte-Douglass International Airport.

PIT Airport Map

Prior to entering the airport, the main entrance is easily organized in 4 levels – from bottom to top: Baggage Claim, Transit, Ticketing, and Mezzanine. You would check in at ticketing then take the escalators down to transit to check in through security and make your way into the Center Terminal. Also, there is a Pre-Check (as well as a Trusted Traveler and Global Entry Enrollment Center) at PIT Airport which helps speed your journey through security. Wait times are typically low in any case, and you can always get up to the minute wait information, as well as parking lot vacancy statistics from the PIT Airport website. This is also a feature we plan to offer in the tripchi app.

PIT Airport Wait Times

PIT Airport Wait Times

Once you’re through security, you’re pretty much dumped in the middle of the AirMall – and you should have a chance to see some fairly interesting artwork:

PIT Airport T. Rex

PIT Airport T. Rex

PIT Airport - Washington and Franco

PIT Airport – Washington and Franco

If this isn’t enough there some more great art and historical displays scattered throughout the airport Terminals. If you have some time to kill, my #layovertip #1 is to visit the Tuskegee Airmen museum in Terminal A, near Gate A8. Here’s a view of the exhibit from the tripchi airport app:

PIT Airport - Tuskegee Airmen Exhibit

My #layovertip #2 spot goes to the Andy Warhol “World of Warhol” Exhibit in Terminal D, near Gate D77. That can also be found through the tripchi airport app:

PIT Airport World Of Warhol Exhibit

While there’s other great art scattered throughout, this next #layovertip goes out to all those families out there, traveling with young children. PIT Airport does a great job catering to its younger travelers – not only does it feature a FlyKids website filled with entertaining games, but it also has a physical playground, or “Kidsport” for the youngsters to enjoy (and keep their parents happy too):

PIT Airport Kidsport

My final #layovertip is to of course go shopping, try one of the scrumptious restaurants, or take part in the beauty and massage services offered at PIT Airport during your longer layover. AirMall and PIT Airport do a great job of bringing in international designer and boutique collections like Pinko and Desigual, both located in the Central AirMall.

PIT Airport Pinko

PIT Airport Pinko

PIT Airport Desigual

PIT Airport Desigual

There there’s the more “close-to-home” authentic American and even Pittsburgh local flair stores like the Three Rivers Harley shop (Central AirMall) and ZoZo (Terminal A, near Gate 1).

PIT Airport Three Rivers Harley Davidson

PIT Airport Three Rivers Harley Davidson

PIT Airport Zozo

PIT Airport Zozo

Finally, if you’re feeling peckish, there are some great food options for you. If you are looking more for fine quality snacks, or even a gourmet gift for a loved one, try Bottega di Sappori for a taste of Italy in the Central AirMall.

PIT Airport Bottega dei Sapori

Alternatively, if you’re in the mood for a healthy sandwich or salad to go, try Nature’s Kitchen in the food court, located in the Center terminal AirMall.

PIT Airport Nature's Kitchen

Feeling internationally inspired, but still wanting to east fast, fresh, and healthy? Take a look at Currito burrito, also in the Central food court, with delicious ethnically inspired creations, all wrapped up in a nice little burrito package.

PIT Airport Currito

Enough about the healthy stuff. Want some “down-home” cooking a la Pittsburgh, with a heavy dose of sports fanaticism? Head to Burgh Sportz Bar, located in two Terminals – both near B28 and D76.

PIT Airport - Burgh Sportz Bar

Finally, if you have an hour or more to kill, we suggest you check out celebrity Chef Michael’s Symon’s foodie favorite, Bar Symon (Central terminal) for some serious comfort food. Your tummy will thank you later, especially as your seatmates are forced to wolf down terrible airplane food on the flight. Bar Symon even has a To-Go option – and side note – most all of the eateries can be ordered to go and delivered through the AirMall delivery service. Learn more about the dining options in the tripchi airport app.

PIT Airport - Bar Symon

Have a longer layover? Already exhausted all the dining and shopping options? I’ve never met a person who couldn’t say no to a massage. Head to XpresSpa at Terminal B, near Gate 31 for quick neck and shoulder rub, or something more intensive.

Still got some time to kill? There’s always the tried and true “sit down and get work done”, and there are a couple of great places to do this at PIT Airport – rounding out my last #layovertip recommendation. Snag a seat at one of the Power Up  or work- stations offered throughout the Gate areas to charge before flying. PIT Airport also offers free Wi-Fi making it quite convenient to park yourself somewhere at make it through your emails.

PIT Airport Power Up Stations

Or, if you’re a member or family member of the military, you’re welcome to check out the Military and Family Courtesy Center, located in Terminal A, near Gate A4. There is an entertainment area, complimentary drinks and snacks, games, and a library for your layover pleasure.

All in all, PIT Airport is a fabulous airport to fly through, and even better if you have a longish layover. If you have a really, really long-layover – the airport makes a great launching point to get in to see the city of Pittsburgh, and even boasts a Hyatt Hotel onsite to conveniently get some Zs, go to the gym, or take some much needed “me-time” during your layover.

All of these great dining, shopping, services, art exhibits, and of course our #layovertip list are available for your enjoyment through the tripchi airport app. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Chandra is passionate about travel and technology....

One comment

  1. […] fact, we’ve added Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) to our list of airports covered in our airport app. Next up? Denver International Airport. Shoot us […]

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