Thanksgiving Travel Tips for Navigating Sky Harbor Airport

Thanksgiving Travel Tips for Navigating Sky Harbor Airport

The holidays are quickly approaching, and if you are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, America’s Friendliest Airport® has some important travel tips to help you avoid the traffic and save time at the Airport.

Did you know the evening before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year on the roadways?  Those picking up or dropping off family and friends don’t have to deal with roadway traffic and terminal curb congestion.  In fact, to avoid the congestion, drivers are encouraged to plan ahead and utilize the 44th Street and Washington PHX Sky Train® Station.  This is the BEST option for drivers to pick up or drop off.

The station, which is located on the southwest corner of 44th Street and Washington, has many amenities, including:

  • Free Cell Phone Waiting Lot – wait free of charge for your party
  • Boarding Pass Kiosk – print your boarding pass before arriving at the terminal
  • Early Bag Check – a handy service for those flying American Airlines, Southwest, or United to check their bags before boarding the PHX Sky Train.
  • PHX Sky Train® – the Airport terminals are just minutes away – and it’s free!

See how easy it is to use in our Locals Know Where To Go video ( )  featuring Baxter, the Arizona Diamondback’s mascot.

The station is easy to get to.  From the East Valley, drivers have two options to access the Station:

  • Take the 202 west to the 44th Street exit and proceed south
  • Drive north on State Route 143 to the Washington Street exit, drive west on Washington to 44th Street, then turn south.


From the West Valley and Central Phoenix:

  • Take the 202 east to the 44th Street exit and proceed south

Sky Harbor will be busier than usual beginning Tuesday before the holiday through Monday after the holiday.  Wednesday and Sunday will be Sky Harbor’s busiest days.

Here are some additional travel tips for travelers:

  • Give yourself plenty of time. Arrive at the Airport at least two hours before your flight departs if you are flying domestically, three hours if you are flying internationally.
  • Check the current security checkpoint wait times on the home page of and in the terminals on the flight information displays and visual paging screens.  Hint for those traveling in Terminal 4:  You can use any of the security checkpoints to access your gate.
  • Look through your purse or carry-on bag before you come to the Airport.  Visit gov for information about what is, or isn’t allowed on an aircraft and items that must be placed in checked luggage.  Have a question on whether you can bring that Thanksgiving pie or other food item?  Visit TSA’s website, or tweet to them at @AskTsa
  • If you are not being dropped off and plan to park at the airport, know your options. For up-to-the-minute parking availability, call 602-273-4545 or visit com/FindASpot Travelers can also reserve parking in advance at to save money on terminal garage parking. Valet parking is also available at Terminal 4.  Find out more at
  • Visit com while you are at the airport to find out which shops and restaurants are near your gate.  Phoenix Sky Harbor has many delicious dining options and a variety of retail locations for those wishing to pick-up a gift or two on their way out of town.  And, while you are here, be sure to check out our Museum exhibitions located throughout each terminal.  Phoenix Sky Harbor has one of the largest musuem programs in the country.
  • Watch Freeway Signs.  Drivers should watch for freeway signs providing Airport traffic updates and recommending alternate routes.  Drivers are also asked to watch their speed as they enter Sky Harbor and keep an eye out for officers directing traffic. Whether you’re traveling for Thanksgiving or picking up a friend or loved one, give yourself extra time and expect busy roadways. For the latest information on Thanksgiving traffic conditions, follow Phoenix Sky Harbor on Facebook or Twitter @PHXSkyharbor.




Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, America’s Friendliest Airport, has an annual economic impact of nearly $29 billion. Every day approximately 1,200 aircraft and more than 100,000 passengers arrive and depart at Sky Harbor, PHX Sky Harbor is funded with Airport revenue. No tax dollars are used to support the Airport.

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