Mike Strange, president of Philadelphia-based Bassetts Ice Cream, has to catch a flight to Chicago on Wednesday morning to meet with a customer from China.
Bassetts' business is booming in China, but the customer could not get a direct flight from China to Philadelphia.
"That means an extra flight for me to Chicago and for my broker," Strange said. "Given my druthers, I would not be flying to Chicago."
A recent report by the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program on global air travel shows that Philadelphia grew its international-passenger levels from 2003 to 2011 by 6 percent.
But at the same time, the report shows, Philly, the fifth-most-populous metropolitan area, ranked last in growth rate among the 10 most populous U.S. regions, in which international-passenger levels increased from 20 percent to 45 percent.