Sky Harbor prepares for record breaking day following Super Bowl LVII

The airport could see more than 180,000 travelers on the day after the Super Bowl
The WM Phoenix Open and Super Bowl is expected to keep America's Friendliest Airport extra busy.
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 8:58 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The day after the Super Bowl could be the biggest day in Sky Harbor’s history with more than 180,000 people expected to come through the airport on February 13th. That’s bigger than any travel day around Thanksgiving or Christmas!

“The last time we hosted the Superbowl, we had about 175,000 people come through the airport and that number was down a little bit because of weather impacts elsewhere, which canceled and delayed flights. This year, we’re anticipating record numbers of visitors coming in not just for the Super Bowl, but for other Valley events like the Phoenix Open,” Heather Shelbrack with Sky Harbor Airport said.

On average, Sky Harbor typically attracts 120,000 thousand people each day. Shelbrack says the airport has been preparing for the influx of visitors for a year, bringing in additional staff especially the Monday after the game.

“Our operations and our customer service team are working together to make sure that we have staff in the terminals to assist to help people who are traveling through and we’re also working with the host committee to have Super Bowl volunteers here at the airport too,” Shelbrack said.

American Airlines is adding more than 100 flights between Phoenix and 20+ cities during our busy February sports stretch. Meanwhile, Southwest just announced it’s adding more flights to and from Kansas City and Philadelphia starting the Thursday before the Super Bowl. United also added 10 flights to-and-from Phoenix between Feb. 10 and Feb. 13

The airport has new features that will help make travel a little easier when the crowds come to town.

“Last Super Bowl, we had more than 12,000 rental car returns. The Sky Train stage two opening that happened in December, that makes it so much easier for travelers to get between the terminals and the rental car center and back from the rental car center to the terminals because they can hop aboard the Sky Train and be to the rental car center in a matter of minutes. They don’t have to go downstairs and board a bus with their luggage,” Shelbrack said.

If you’re traveling the day after the Super Bowl, airport officials recommend getting to the ticketing counter 3 hours before your flight. If you’re dropping friends and family off that day, be prepared for some airport congestion and consider dropping off before the terminals.

“We’re encouraging people if you are dropping off to use the 44th Street Sky Train station or the 24th Street Station at 24th Street and Buckeye, you can drop off your party there and they can ride the Sky Train so you don’t have to come all the way into the to the airport,” Shelbrack said.