Air Travel

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TRAVEL TIPS

Air Travel

Despite its high passenger volume, lines at the check-in counters and security checkpoints at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport are usually brisk and efficient, although during busy periods (spring break, holiday weekends, etc.) you should anticipate longer waits and arrive at the airport 30 to 60 minutes earlier than you would otherwise. Because Phoenix is a hub for Southwest and American Airlines, it has direct flights to most major U.S. cities and a number of international destinations elsewhere in North America (Calgary, Cancún, Edmonton, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Toronto, Vancouver, and San José, Costa Rica, among them), as well as nonstop service to London on British Airways.

Sample flying times from major cities are: one hour from Los Angeles, three hours from Chicago, and five hours from New York City. Keep in mind that several destinations have only seasonal nonstop service from Phoenix (usually from mid-autumn through mid-spring).

Airports

Major gateways to Arizona include Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX), about 3 miles southeast of Phoenix city center, and Tucson International Airport (TUS), about 8½ miles south of Tucson's central business area.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world for takeoffs and landings but rarely suffers from congestion or lengthy lines. Its spacious, modern terminals are easily navigable, with plenty of dining options as well as free Wi-Fi. Sky Harbor's three passenger terminals are connected by the free Sky Train, which runs regularly throughout the day and also links to the 44th St./Washington METRO Light Rail station. Shuttle vans to the rental-car center stop outside each terminal.

Tucson International Airport has one terminal that has a smattering of restaurants and free Wi-Fi. Although it services far fewer passengers per day than Sky Harbor, it does offer nonstop flights to Chicago, Atlanta, and a number of major metropolitan areas around the western half of the country.

Airport Information

Phoenix Sky Harbor International. 602/273–3300; www.phxskyharbor.com.

Tucson International Airport. 520/573–8100; www.flytucsonairport.com.

Flights

Phoenix is a hub for Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, which merged with US Airways in 2013. These carriers offer direct flights into and out of Phoenix to most of the country’s larger metro areas; Southwest also has direct flights from Tucson to Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Diego, and American Airlines has numerous daily connections between Tucson and Phoenix. The nation's other major airlines also fly into Phoenix and have a few flights into Tucson as well.

Among the smaller carriers, Alaska Airlines has direct service from Phoenix and Tucson to Portland and Seattle. Frontier connects Phoenix with Denver. Hawaiian Airlines flies from Phoenix to Hawaii. JetBlue has service from Phoenix to Boston and New York. Sun Country Airlines has seasonal service from Phoenix to Minneapolis. Canada's WestJet connects Phoenix directly with most major cities in western Canada. Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines arrived in Phoenix in late 2013, adding direct service to Denver, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Another newcomer is discount Mexican airline Volaris, which flies from Phoenix nonstop to Guadalajara, with connecting flights to Mexico City and Cancun.

Within Arizona, American Airlines flies from Phoenix to Flagstaff and Yuma. Great Lakes Airlines connects a number of smaller Arizona cities (Kingman, Page, Show Low, Prescott) with Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver, Las Vegas, and a few other smaller airports around the Southwest—sometimes one or two connections are required. Scenic Airlines flies from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon.

Airline Contacts

Alaska Airlines. 800/252–7522; www.alaskaair.com.

American Airlines. 800/433–7300; www.aa.com.

Delta Airlines. 800/221–1212; www.delta.com.

jetBlue. 800/538–2583; www.jetblue.com.

Southwest Airlines. 800/435–9792; www.southwest.com.

United Airlines. 800/864–8331; www.united.com.

Smaller Airlines

Frontier Airlines. 800/432–1359; www.flyfrontier.com.

Great Lakes Airlines. 800/554–5111; www.greatlakesav.com.

Hawaiian Airlines. 800/367–5320; www.hawaiianairlines.com.

Scenic Airlines. 800/634–6801; www.scenic.com.

Spirit Airlines. 801/401–2200; www.spirit.com.

Sun Country Airlines. 800/359–6786; www.suncountry.com.

Volaris. 866/988–3527; www.volaris.com.

WestJet. 888/937–8538; www.westjet.com.

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