Deja vu: Delta to move to Terminal E at PHL

If you're flying on a ticket issued by Delta or Northwest in coming weeks, the airlines should have alerted you to this already: Delta will move its operations at PHL from Terminal A-East to the D-E complex next week, as part of its acquisition of Northwest. The move is scheduled for 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Customers should only be mildly confused for awhile by the location of Delta's various facilties. Here's what you will have to remember: Delta's ticket counters will be in Terminal E, where Northwest ticket counters have been for years. Delta gates will be D-10, 12, 14, 15 and 16. Baggage claim will be in Terminal D. The D gates were among those AirTran occupied until it moved to Terminal E.

Are you getting deja vu all over again vibes here? You may recall Delta moved from Terminal E to A-East a coulple of years ago, vacating space that allowed Southwest to get more gates. US Airways did its best to hold up the move for months, saying gates in A-East, which has always been used for a combination of domestic and international flights, should be reserved for international service only. Slowing Southwest's expansion was a side benefit to US Airways, although publicly US said that wasn't a motive for its protest.

Delta's move to A-East was at a time US Airways was expanding its European destinations. PHL CEO Mark Gale told me recently that with Delta's move to E, the airport now has gates in A-East available in case any existing carriers want to add international flights, or a new overseas carrier wants to start service. US served 22 destinations in Europe and Mideast last year, but Gale says it's expected to fly to four fewer this year, another effect of the recession on air travel.