Phoenix Airport Guide:
The Friendliest Airport in America
The city of Phoenix is known for strange happenings in the skies above. Luckily, down on the ground at PHX (also known as Sky Harbor Airport), you’ll find nothing but cleanliness and friendliness. PHX can truly be an enjoyable airport experience if you remember the things discussed here.
Where Sky Harbor Airport Shines
Sky Harbor Airport is large, clean, and modern. Travelers often tout Terminal 4 as the place to be when at PHX. Most of the eateries and shops are located there, and a lot of travelers congregate there due to the upbeat atmosphere.
A couple of other details make Phoenix Airport very accommodating to weary travelers. Visitors don’t have to worry about getting stuck without power for their electronic devices because outlets are widely available. Another bonus is the presence of water bottle refill stations throughout the terminals to provide clean, filtered water to travelers at absolutely no cost.
Sky Harbor Airport is also widely known for having the friendliest staff in the airport industry. TSA at PHX also receives high marks for its effective service.
The Undesirable Side of Phoenix Airport
Although this isn’t one of the biggest airports in the U.S., it is large enough to force you to do some walking when going from terminal to terminal. You’ll either have to speed walk or jump on one of the moving walkways if you are late for a flight.
Furthermore, despite the airport’s large size, some areas such as the Southwest terminal has gates so close to each other that it leads to cramped space and a lack of seating. You might want to get to your gates well ahead of time to ensure you find a comfortable seat.
Another downer is that although Wi-Fi service is free, it is often spotty and unreliable. Thus, don’t expect to entertain yourself on the net while you’re waiting for your flight.
Killing Time at Sky Harbor Airport
PHX maintains one of the largest airport museums in the country. The airport collection, located throughout the terminals, has received numerous awards and recognition for its extensive collection. The art collection is found throughout the terminals with an extensive art gallery on the third floor of Terminal 4. Art is rotated out on a regular basis, so every time you go PHX you are likely to have new pieces to view. You an easily kill a couple hours of wait time browsing the 600 or more exhibits.
If your traveling party includes younger children, you can take them to one of the playgrounds in the terminals. In Terminal 3, the play area is located in the South Concourse. In Terminal 4, it is located between Gates 15 and 28. In Terminal 2, it is found in the southernmost point of the concourse.
Eating Phoenix Style
Phoenix Airport is often said to have the best restaurant choices for travelers. Rather than having a food court stacked with the same old chain restaurants, PHX has integrated a lot of locally known eateries into its restaurant lineup. The following selections will help you get started in finding the right meal for you.
If chicken & waffles sounds appetizing, you can find it at Lo-Lo’s located in Terminal 4 in the B Wing. Lo-Lo’s has southern style food that will kill the hunger pangs of the most starved traveler. This all-day breakfast eatery serves up mouth-watering dishes such as the “Baby Ray,” consisting of three pieces of chicken over two waffles topped with onion infused gravy. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can drop the poultry and go for the “D.Mann” which combines fish and waffles. A number of barbecue-flavored plates are available as well.
NYPD Pizza (New York Pizza Department), located in Terminal 2, serves pies and slices in the Big Apple style. Full pizzas are available in many different sizes to accommodate your traveling group. You can choose from thin crust or the thicker Sicilian deep-dish crust. Prices range from around $8 to $27 for the full pizza pie. One popular choice here is the Veganizza: with vegan cheese, basil, roma tomatoes and spinach. For those who want something meatier, there is the Mott Street Meat Lover, which has sausage, pepperoni, and meatballs.
Matt’s Big Breakfast, located in Terminal 4, is a diner style restaurant that frequent flyers keep coming back to. As the name suggests, they serve breakfast all day long. Breakfast lovers will enjoy hearty meals such as the Salami Scramble, or the homemade Griddlecakes. They also have lunch items such as the Tossed Cobb salad or the Big Butter Burger. Another attractive feature is that they offer bottomless coffee so that you can get all the caffeine you need.
Four Peaks Brewing Company, also located in Terminal 4, is another of the airport’s favorites. They serve the standard burgers and fries combos with beer, but also have a lot more to offer. For breakfast, you can get a satisfying plate of french toast, or a picturesque fruit plate. If you need some hot sauce to burn your taste buds, don’t forget to try the Arizona Gunslinger sauce.
Additional Info for the Pet Friendly
Travelers with pets will find that Sky Harbor Airport is a great pit stop for animals. There are pet parks outside of the terminals (pre-security) where you can take your furry friend for a walk or a bathroom break.
Got an opinion on the above or advice for fellow PHX travelers? Tell us on our Facebook page!