Sky Harbor Airport gears up for Super Bowl influx

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Sky Harbor International Airport is expecting 180,000 people to travel through its airport on the Monday after the Super Bowl.

Visitors will start arriving on Wednesday and Super Bowl merchandise is already on the shelves ready for sale.

"This is kind of a football and a cactus all in one," said Matt Schaub of Team Shop USA, describing a new T-shirt design.

And you don't have to go far to see Super Bowl XLIX signage everywhere.

"Yesterday, we just got in our dueling team shirts," Schaub said. "It has the helmets of the Patriots and the Seahawks kind of facing each other."

Team Shop USA at Sky Harbor Airport has hats, T-shirts, even teddy bears with the Arizona Super Bowl logo.

The store will be fully staffed the day after the Super Bowl game.

Sky Harbor is expected to have a 60 percent increase in travelers the day after the big game and has some numbers to help travelers out.

"We have a 5-4-3-2-1. Five hours before your flight, check out of your hotel. Four hours before, drop off your rental car. Three hours before, go to the ticket counter. Two hours before, get in line at the security checkpoint and an hour before be at your gate," said Heather Lissner, Sky Harbor Airport spokeswoman.

Go to www.skyharbor.com and the interactive parking tool will show you how full the lots are.

If you're picking up or dropping off, use the Sky Train station.

"Our best-kept secret is the 44th Street and Washington Phoenix Sky Train station," Lissner said. "You can avoid curb congestion, you can avoid traffic by picking up and dropping off there."

People who travel with Super Bowl programs should not pack the programs in a checked bag. Lissner said the holograms on the programs will get the attention of the Transportation Security Administration and then they will have to hand-search the checked bag. So, she said to carry on the programs.