Posted on January 28th, 2023.
Next month, State Farm Stadium in Arizona will play host to the 57th edition of the Super Bowl, which functions as the championship game for American football's National Football League. With this being one of the biggest sporting events in the US, the nearby Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is making preparations.
Just over two weeks to go
The big game is scheduled to kick off at 16:30 local time on Sunday, February 12th. It will see the winners of the NFL's American Football Conference and National Football Conference go head-to-head in a battle for the Lombardi Trophy.
This will be the first time that State Farm Stadium has hosted the Super Bowl since 2015. Back then, the facility was known as the University of Phoenix Stadium. Over 70,000 fans were present to see the New England Patriots defeat the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 28-24 to win Super Bowl XLIX, and more than 114 million US viewers watched on TV. Needless to say, this year will be a similar spectacle.
With these numbers in mind, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has begun putting preparations in place as the big weekend looms ever closer. While the days before the game are expected to be busy, the day after is expected to see peak traffic levels. According to Fox, 180,000 people will use the airport on February 13th.
Advice to traveling fans
With daily passenger figures expected to be up to three times higher than regular levels around the Super Bowl weekend, the airport has devised a five-step plan to ensure passengers have a smooth ride. Working in hourly increments, it advises passengers to check out of their hotels no later than five hours before their flight.
The next step is to return their cars to their hire companies, which should be done at the four-hour mark. In order to have enough time for any queues that might emerge, the airport advises departing passengers to check in with three hours to go, and get in line for security no later than at the two-hour mark. All being well, this should see them get to their gate in time, with the one-hour mark being the target.
In order to help expedite procedures on the day, the airport also offers passengers a free early bag drop service at the 44th St PHX Sky Train Station and the Rental Car Center. This service is available to domestic passengers on February 12th and 13th. The participating airlines are American, Delta, Southwest, and United.
Car rental firms are also in for a busy Super Bowl weekend. Following Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, 12,000 cars were returned on the Monday after, which was three times the normal rate. Airport spokesperson Heather Shelbrack added:
"We have been preparing over the last year for the upcoming Super Bowl, [and] are working together with various airport stakeholders. That includes the City of Phoenix aviation personnel, operations, customer service facilities, as well as our concessionaire, our parking operators, TSA, [and] local law enforcement."
With Monday, February 13th expected to be the airport's busiest day of the entire year, such teamwork will be vital in making sure that travel on the day, and indeed across the whole weekend, goes without a hitch. Game on!