Final Reminders about Housing, Travel, and Ground Transportation
Sharon K. Tune, December 2005
Individuals must make reservations with ITS, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau's exclusive housing vendor. Reservations for the eight hotels in the AHA's block will be accepted via the AHA's annual meeting web page through December 14, 2005. U.S. and Canadian attendees can telephone (toll-free 800-650-6835) during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Standard Time, Monday through Friday. International callers may call 847-282-2515 to make reservations during normal business hours. Faxes may be sent 24 hours a day, seven days a week to 800-521-6017; international attendees may fax to 847-940-2386. See the AHA's web site for additional details on deposit requirements and how to make, modify, or cancel a reservation. The cut-off date for the AHA's official block is 5 p.m. CST on December 14. After this date, remaining inventory in the block will be released. However, all hotels will continue to accept reservations at convention rates on a space-available basis. If all hotels sell out, additional housing options will be posted on the AHA's web site.
Association Travel Concepts (ACT) has been selected as the official travel agency for the AHA's official travel agency for the 120th annual meeting. Special air, rail, and car rental rates are available with United Airlines, US Airways, American Airlines, Amtrak, Avis Rent A Car, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. To take advantage of rates and special benefits, check for additional information on the AHA's web site or e-mail ATC at firstname.lastname@example.org. ATC is available for reservations from 9 a.m.–until 7:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. Discounts apply for travel Monday, January 2 through Wednesday, January 11, 2006.
Ground Transportation: Arriving by Air
The Philadelphia area is served by the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), and is served by all major domestic carriers. The new international terminal features 13 new international gates and 56 U.S. immigration booths. To review a terminal layout, see www.phl.org. The airport is located seven miles from downtown. Incoming visitors can reach hotels via taxi, van shuttle, limo, or mass transit.
Taxis are readily available outside the baggage claim area of the airport. Exit the terminal and walk to Zone 5 where the taxicab dispatcher will hail a cab for you. The taxi fare from the airport to Center City Philadelphia is a $25 flat fee, one way, not including an optional gratuity. The trip takes approximately 20 minutes, though longer in rush hours.
Lady Liberty Airport Shuttle provides airport shuttle service to all Philadelphia hotels. Reservations are not necessary. The Lady Liberty van runs 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. The one-way fare between Philadelphia International Airport and Center City Philadelphia is $8 per adult, $4 per child 6–12 years, and free for children under 6 years of age. After luggage is collected, go to the Ground Transportation Desk (a staffed desk with monitors, not to be confused with the bank of phones connecting to local hotels). Pick up the phone and dial 27, or call 215-724-8888. Tell the dispatcher which terminal you are in and your destination and follow the instructions you receive. Remain in the seating area near the Ground Transportation Counter (open 5 a.m. to midnight) and you will be called when your driver arrives. The shuttle vans are waiting in a holding lot at the airport and are dispatched into the terminals once a call is received. The average wait time is 10 to 15 minutes. Two pieces of luggage plus one carry-on piece per passenger are allowed. Excess luggage will be charged at the discretion of the dispatcher and driver—it's best to get a quote from the driver before boarding.
For return transfers, call Lady Liberty at least 24 hours in advance at 215-724-8888. Transfers are available between 5 a.m. and midnight daily, with departure from the hotel scheduled by reservation. Allow a minimum of two hours for the return trip. Since Lady Liberty's last shuttle is at midnight, taxi or train are the only options after that time. It is customary to tip the shuttle driver, usually $1 per suitcase.
Philadelphia's mass transit system is run by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's (SEPTA). SEPTA operates a coordinated system of bus, subway, elevated train, and trolley lines that covers all of Philadelphia and parts of the surrounding counties. SEPTA's R1 Airport Line provides fast and convenient service to and from the five airport terminals, departing from the airport every 20 minutes from the airport. Each terminal has a station located between the security checkpoint and baggage claim. The R1 Airport Line costs $5.50 for one-way fare downtown. The trip takes about 20 minutes, with trains departing every half hour from 6 a.m. to midnight. The following stops serve AHA meeting hotels: Market East Station for the Marriott (direct entrance), Courtyard, Loews, Hilton, Hampton Inn, and Holiday Inn Express. Suburban Station for the DoubleTree and Wyndham (the latter is several blocks).
Ground Transportation: Arriving by Train
Amtrak's 30th Street Station is located at 30th and Market Streets, a 10-minute taxi ride ($6) from the hotels. Riders can also transfer from Amtrak to a SEPTA Regional Rail train for no extra charge by showing the conductor the Amtrak ticket stub (which should be saved for the return trip as well). If purchasing a SEPTA ticket, the special fare for travel between 30th Street, Suburban, and Market East Stations is only sold as a round-trip fare for $3.50.
—Sharon K. Tune is the AHA's convention director.