Flying in or out of Pittsburgh International Airport and want the scoop on what you can expect when you arrive? From where to let the kids play to parking costs, here’s our PIT Airport Guide for families: Tips & Tricks for Navigating Pittsburgh International Airport.
All photos courtesy of Pittsburgh International Airport.
I’ve been to PIT Airport so many times I couldn’t even count, whether flying or not. And, while it may seem overwhelming, especially when flying with the kids, it’s a really good airport for families. Here’s what to do, including tips for getting around.
PIT Airport Layout
Once you enter and head through security you’ll be in the Landside Terminal. To get to a gate at the Airside Terminal, you’ll need to take a ride on the People Mover, aka indoor tram. The ride, when not busy, is less than a minute and kids do enjoy it. From there, it’s a central hub layout with four concourses, A, B, C, & D. Concourses A & B are the lengthiest and offer the most gates.
The Hub area also offer plenty of shopping at the AIRMALL that, until recently, was only able to be accessed by flying patrons. This year, myPIT Pass now allows guests that aren’t flying to shop. More on myPIT Pass below.
PIT Airport WiFi
PIT Airport does offer free, unsecured WiFi. Please keep in mind that others will be using the WiFi as well, so don’t log into accounts with passwords that can be hacked. Just sayin’. To access the airport WiFi, open a new browser – you’ll be directed to the FlyPittsburgh website.
PIT Airport Security
Just as with any large airport, you’ll want to arrive at least two hours ahead of time for domestic flights and three hours ahead for international. If you’ll be flying on busy holidays, a little extra time added on never hurts.
PIT Airport has one main security check leading to all four Concourses. There’s also an additional security check that’s much less crowded when open near the airport drop off. We used it the last time we flew and were the only ones in line. mind you, it was super early in the morning, but it was effective.
Here’s the official stance on liquids from PIT Airport (mandated by TSA):
You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Placing these items in the small bag and separating from your carry-on baggage facilitates the screening process. Pack items that are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in checked baggage.
Any liquid, aerosol, gel, cream or paste that alarms during screening will require additional screening. Everything you need to know can be found on the TSA website.
PIT Airport Parking
If parking on-property, you have three options with different daily rates:
Short Term: Good for dropping off/picking up and is located inside a garage area. It’s also the closest to the main airport entrance.
Pricing for Short Term Parking Lot at PIT:
- $1.00/ 1st hour
- $4.00 each additional hour
- $26.00 daily max
- Daily max is calculated on a 24-hour basis. All hours exceeding a 24-hour period will be charged at the hourly rate up to the daily max.
Long Term: If you’re looking for onsite parking, particularly if you only have carry-on luggage, Long Term is a good option. This lot is also the busiest, so be prepared to hunt for a parking space.
Pricing for Long Term Parking Lot at PIT:
- $16.00 daily max
- Daily maximum is calculated on a 24-hour basis. All hours exceeding a 24-hour period will be charged at the hourly rate up to the daily max.
Extended Economy Parking: If you’ll be parking your vehicle for an extended period of time, this lot is the most cost-effective. Also note that the first hour of parking is free, making it an ideal Cell Phone/Pick Up Lot. The upside: parking is cheap. The downside: if you have kiddos, you’ll want to use the shuttle. That can tack on an additional 10-15 minutes of wait time in the outdoor lot.
Pricing for Extended Economy Parking Lot at PIT:
- Free 1st hour
- $2.00 2nd hour
- After two hours, the normal rate of $8.00/day will go into effect
- $8.00 daily max
- Daily maximum is calculated on a 24-hour basis.
Additional PIT Airport Parking Options
Valet/VIP Parking: Available at the rental car garage. Follow the valet signs.
Disability Parking: Vehicles with disabled permits or plates are entitled to the lowest application rate to their stay regardless of which lot they park in. When exiting, you’ll need to make sure to go through a lane marked “Open” or “Cash Only” to receive this rate.
Getting Back and Forth from PIT Airport
You have at least three options to get to and from PIT:
Ride Sharing: Happily, PIT Airport allows ride sharing via app. The pick up location for Uber, Lyft and zTrip is located outside Baggage Claim Door #4.
Car Rentals at PIT Airport: You’ll find the common providers like Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Payless. Rental counters are on the Baggage Claim level of the Landside Terminal. From there, it’s just a short walk to pick up a rental car at the airport’s covered garage.
Public Transportation: Every 30 minutes outside of Door 6 at Baggage Claim, the 28X Airport Flyer (West Busway) motorcoach picks up and drops off airport guests. The route runs to and from Pittsburgh International Airport, Downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland. Fare per person is $2.75. While it is the most affordable of the options, it’s the most time consuming and hectic, especially with small children in tow. As a mom with a teen, I’d have no prob using it to get into the city proper.
Taxi: Pittsburgh Yellow Cab and Pittsburgh Transportation Group are dependable and available.
PIT Airport Hotels
If you’re flying out early in the morning, have missed your flight, or have an overnight and want to be bang next to the airport, there’s one on-property hotel: Hyatt Regency. You won’t even have to walk outdoors to get to the airport – access is with a moving walkway. Pricing is not inexpensive, but you are paying for convenience.
As for offsite Pittsburgh hotels, there are easily two dozen around the PIT Airport area in Robinson Township & Settler’s Ridge. hotels are much more affordable at both areas and have shopping and dining options nearby. We’ve used this trick to save money on parking, especially when flying out early: grab a hotel that offers free parking and an airport shuttle. We’ve left our car in the hotel’s parking lot (with permission), used its shuttle, and called once we arrived back to have it pick us up.
PIT Airport with Kids
PIT Airport is easy to navigate and is a manageable size. When you’re with kids, however, looking for a place for them to play can be a challenge but PIT has it covered. In Concourse C there’s a Kidsport Lounge: 2,100 sq. feet of play space. It has interactive installations, a rubberized floor, and a nursing area for new mothers. The Mothers’ Nursing Lounge features comfy seating, a baby changing table and is next to the family bathroom in the Airside Terminal.
You’ll also find adult seating so you can take a break while the kiddos are running around.
When it comes to airport security, PIT Airport is thorough, so expect to have some extra measures taken if you’re carrying extra liquids, bottles, etc.
When you and the kids are hungry, each Concourse has restaurants. If you don’t like what you see, head to another Concourse or to the main hub area where there are plenty of additional dining options.
PIT Airport Lounges
Right now there are two:
The Club Lounge: Located in Concourse C between Kidsport and Bar Symon. It’s open from 4am to 9pm daily and day passes may be purchased for $40 per person. Cost includes light snacks and refreshments.
If you have a Priority Pass (either through buying a membership or included in certain credit cards perks – we like Chase Sapphire Reserve), entrance to the Club Lounge is complimentary.
Military Lounge: Free for members of the military and their families. Located near Gate C54, it has television, work stations, and light snacks.
American Airlines Admirals Club: normally located on the Airside Mezzanine level. Right now it’s closed for renovations – a temporary kiosk is located in Concourse B.
PIT Airport with Pets
Here’s the scoop on bring pets to PIT Airport:
Animals are not permitted in the terminal complex of PIT Airport unless in a kennel. The exception is a working dog on a leash.
If your dog needs to do some business, pet relief areas are located at the following locations:
- Outside near the Landside Baggage Claim
- Inside in Concourse D next to the Post Office
The first U.S. Airport to offer it, myPIT Pass allows guests not flying in or out of the airport to access shopping and dining. Availabe Monday-Friday from 9qam to 5pm, you don’t need a boarding pass to take advantage of the Airside Terminal but will need to heed to a check-in process. You’ll also be subject to the same security screening as PIT Airport passengers.
You can find the check-in for myPIT Pass at its third floor ticket counter in the Landside Terminal. If you need a landmark, its across from Allegiant Air. Have a valid ID ready for each person in your party and, once approved, you’ll pass through an alternate security checkpoint.
Via the official PIT Airport website:
Those receiving a myPITpass for Airside access are subject to the same security screening regulations as passengers boarding a plane, and may only bring ONE personal item such as a purse, briefcase or laptop computer through the security screening checkpoint. All prohibited items for carry-on-luggage, including liquids, apply to personal items taken to the Airside Terminal. Please review list of TSA prohibited items here .
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