Nov 22, 2023 - News

Phoenix Thanksgiving air and road travel tips

Data: GasBuddy; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: GasBuddy; Chart: Axios Visuals

Your Thanksgiving feast won't be the only thing stuffed to the brim this week! Be prepared for crowded airports and roadways, too.

Why it matters: This is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, and if you aren't prepared for crowds and congestion, you may end up missing quality time with loved ones.

First, the good news: Gas prices finally dropped from a September spike of nearly $4.75 per gallon.

  • Phoenix prices are still above the national average but fell to an average of $3.82 per gallon as of Nov. 1, per GasBuddy data.

Yes, but: Cheaper gas could mean more people opting for road trips over the holiday. ADOT expects increased activity on Interstate 17 and State Route 87 north of metro Phoenix and I-10 between the Tucson and Phoenix metro areas and between Phoenix and California.

  • The department suggests getting an early start, allowing extra time and preparing for unscheduled closures and lane restrictions due to crashes, disabled vehicles or inclement weather.
  • Of note: There are no scheduled closures starting Wednesday afternoon through Monday morning.

Driving the news: If you're flying, you might want to eat before you head to the airport — food and concessions workers went on strike Tuesday over what their union alleged were unfair labor practices.

Sky Harbor has some additional holiday travel tips.

  • Check your flight status before you leave and make sure to give yourself some extra time to get to the gate.
  • If you want to avoid long security lines, reserve a screening time at the TSA checkpoints through the PHX Reserve program.

Zoom in: It's not just the airport that'll be busier — the roads around Sky Harbor may be, too.

  • Build in extra travel time to get to the airport.
  • If you're dropping off or picking up, consider doing it at the 24th Street or 44th Street PHX Sky Train stations.
  • Rather than circle the airport until the people you're picking up arrive, wait in the cellphone lots.
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