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Update: As of 7:45 a.m. Friday, the listing had been returned to normal. Some people just aren’t any fun.

As the many people closely watching the presidential tally are learning, Philadelphia is not your average city. The November election brought things like human-size mailboxes dancing to Missy Elliot in front of the ballot counting center and grandmas doing the electric slide as they waited to deliver their mail votes.

Also: the airport is currently a pretzel shop.

On Thursday evening, people using Google Maps — possibly to look up Delco, the slowly blue-ing county southwest of the city that’s playing a starring role in the last act of the 2020 race — discovered the place marker for PHL Airport had been renamed.

According to the app, folks flying into the city are now landing at “Philly Pretzel Factory – Philadelphia International Airport.”

Within city limits, the map shows some 25 locations of Philly Pretzel Factory. The franchise was founded two decades ago by a local guy who grew up selling the twists on the street for pocket change, a common pastime for kids in the city, where the soft pretzel is considered a solid school day breakfast.

Click on a listing for any outpost and you’ll see the standard pics with squashed trays of figure-eights and cups of nuggets under the heat lamp (try the mini cheesesteak pretzel bites).

The brand does sell snacks at the airport, to be clear. But if you click on the listing for “Philadelphia Pretzel Factory – Philadelphia International Airport,” you get a little plane icon next to the address of 8,000 Essington Ave., and this description: “Large hub with direct rail service, rotating art exhibitions & aviation-themed play areas for kids.”

It is, in fact, the listing for the city’s destination for international air travel.

Inaccurate neighborhood and place names are no anomaly for Google Maps. The platform’s breadth depends heavily on user input, and it can be hard to correct a listing that’s wrong.

It takes effort to brand a public or popular place with a new name. If you’ve dedicated yourself to the platform and moved up the “Google Local Guide” ranks, your edit might be effective right away. It can take multiple attempts by multiple regular users for a change to catch on.

Someone, however, was successful in changing Philly airport into a pretzel. And Philadelphia is very proud.


Danya Henninger was first editor and then editor/director of Billy Penn at WHYY from 2019 to 2023.