Things picking up at Sky Harbor as holiday travel kicks into gear

Posted: Updated:

Travel Update: Sky Harbor is reporting delays of 15-45 minutes for arriving flights due to weather; departures not impacted

PHOENIX -- It's typically one of the busiest travel days of the year and the folks at Sky Harbor International Airport say they're ready.

Allow plenty of time

After a relatively smooth early morning, traffic was beginning to pick up at about 9 a.m. That's to be expected, airport officials said, as the peak travel times the day before Thanksgiving are between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Officials expect some 140,000 travelers to pass through Sky Harbor today. That's nearly half again as many as the usual 100,000 who pass through on an average day.

The West Economy Lot was already full and closed. The East Economy Lot was filling up, but there were still spaces open. When that's full, drivers will be directed to the Holiday Spillover Lot.

As of 10 a.m., there were 650 space available in the East Economy Lot, as well as plenty of space in East Economy Garages A and B.

Something travelers need to keep in mind is that many airlines have implemented fees for checked bags. That decision has prompted many to try and carry on all of their bags. That, in turn, can cause delays at the security lines.

"The security lines have a lot of extra staff on this year for the holiday so we expect that to go really smoothly," said Deborah Ostreicher of Sky Harbor International Airport.

While things are expected to go smoothly, travelers are urged to allow plenty of time to get in and get through security.

New this year are specific security lanes for casual travelers, expert travelers and families.

"That means if you're traveling with strollers and babies and baby food, you can go through that line and you don't have to worry about a business traveler behind you in a hurry," Ostreicher said.

Weather was expected to be a bit of an issue, but mostly for drivers.

Bruce Haffner reported from NewsChopper 3 earlier in the morning that Air Traffic Control was spacing out departing planes a bit more and usual.

Be sure to check with your airline before heading to the airport for the latest information on delays for both incoming and departing flights.

In addition to allowing enough time to get through security at the airport, those going to the airport from the East Valley might want to allow some extra time to get there.

Construction on the Loop 202, S.R. 143 and 44th Street could cause some issues. Officials are advising people to enter the airport from the west if possible.