Today may be one of the busiest days on record at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, so passengers should arrive early and know where they are going or risk missing their flight.
“There are a lot of charters and code shares, and some confusion with passengers arriving with all their luggage at the wrong terminal,” said Deborah Ostreicher, deputy aviation director.
With code share arrangements, passengers may be ticketed by one airline, but their flight is operated by a different airline. Sometimes those airlines fly from different Sky Harbor terminals, so passengers should phone the airline before they set off from their home or hotel and ask which terminal to go to, she said.
And leave plenty of time to make it from curb to gate, Ostreicher said, at least two hours for people parking and checking bags, at least two and a half hours for those returning a rental car.
“Our rental car returns (today) are expected to be more than twice the usual amount,” she said.
The hordes of out-of-towers who swarmed into the Valley for the Bowl Championship Series title game Monday arrived on different days, but most will return home today. More than 40 additional flights are scheduled to depart from Sky Harbor today, and the regularly scheduled flights will be full, Ostreicher said.
The airport is bracing for as much as double the usual 75,000-a-day weekday crowd, she said.
“That would be like the day before Thanksgiving,” Ostreicher said. “Based on predictions, this could set a new record (number of passengers.)”
Ostreicher said the airport has beefed up operations staff and added more
shuttle bus runs to and from parking lots, terminals and the rental car center. Police and the Transportation Security Administration — the federal agency that handles concourse checkpoints — have also added people, she said.