Phoenix is filled with entertainment and activities to suit every age group. There are world-class golf courses for those looking to improve their handicap; a professional sports scene with affordable tickets for baseball, basketball, American football, and hockey; dozens of museums; botanical gardens; and a nightlife that could rival any other major city in the US.
For those who think there's nothing to do in the desert, think again. Phoenix is a gem in the Sonoran Desert, offering visitors a unique mix of urban comforts against the backdrop of an arid landscape. The Desert Botanical Gardens give you a glimpse of some unique eco-systems in the area, while those seeking the ultimate in indulgence will find it in Phoenix's many spas and resorts with stunning views of the mountains and plains around the city. Whether you're exploring Native American culture, taking a hot air balloon ride over the Grand Canyon, or partying the night away at one of the many nightclubs and bars in the area, our cheap flights to Phoenix are the best way to get to all these and more.
When you're flying to Phoenix, you're most likely to land at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX). As one of the top 10 busiest airports in the country, PHX is served by 17 domestic and international airlines including Air Canada, Continental, American, Delta, JetBlue, United, WestJet, and US Airways. The airport is only five kilometres away from downtown Phoenix and it takes about 10 minutes to commute between the two. Approximately 35 minutes east of PHX is Phoenix-Mesa Gateway (AZA) which is served by budget airline Allegiant Air.
Phoenix boasts of approximately 300 days of sunshine through the year and, given that the area has a dry, desert climate, summers are especially hot. Temperatures sometimes soar over 46°C from June to August and there are occasional thunderstorms during this time. Temperatures range between 5°C at nighttime to 18°C during the day from early December to February, making this period the coolest and most pleasant in Phoenix, although rainfall is more frequent during this time. The holiday season is when flights to Phoenix are most expensive, due to the high demand from passengers wanting to escape colder climates for the Phoenix sun, so book your trip well in advance if this is when you want to visit. For cheaper fares, book your flights in the shoulder seasons of spring (end-April to May) or fall (September to October) when the weather is still good but prices are substantially lower.
Flights to Phoenix will take you either to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) just a few minutes away from the city, or to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway (AZA) which is about a 35-minute drive away from PHX. Here are a few options for Phoenix ground transportation, but for more details, check the airports' websites.
Arriving at PHX
When your flight lands at PHX don't bother looking for Terminal 1. It was demolished years ago and the terminal numbers jump straight to 2, 3, and 4.
Public Transit: A useful aid for passengers taking flights to Phoenix is the Valley Metro 'Plan a Trip' application which gives you the quickest route options along with ticket prices for trips to and from the airport by bus or light rail. Bus stops are located at the curb outside Terminals 2,3, and 4 and one-way tickets range between $2-$6 USD depending on which route you use, making this is one of the cheapest options for transport from the airport. For round-trips and fares over $5 USD, an All-day pass can get you discounts of up to $2 USD. Passengers using the light rail can take the free Airport Shuttle service to the Metro station from where you can connect to stops on Central Avenue to the West, and Mesa in the East. A single-ride ticket costs about $2 USD.
Taxi: Taxi stands are located at the curb of the North exits for Terminals 2 and 3 and on the North exits of Level 1 for Terminal 4. The fare for the first 1.6km is approximately $5 USD and $2 USD is charged for each additional 1.6 km. There are also extra charges for traffic delays and airport surcharges. A trip to downtown Phoenix will cost between $15-$20 USD while a ride to Deer Valley Airport and El Mirage can cost up to $70 USD.
Airport Shuttle: Free airport shuttles operate 24/7 following a pre-determined route between terminals, to the economy parking lots, and the Metro light rail station. The average waiting time for the shuttle is 10-15 minutes and routes are indicated at the stops as well as on the shuttles themselves. After disembarking from your flight, follow the signs to the pick-up areas where black and silver airport shuttles wait at the curb.
Hotel Shuttle: Several hotels and spa resorts in the Phoenix area offer courtesy shuttles from the airport so check with your hotel if this service is provided before you fly to Phoenix. If you forget, there's a courtesy telephone centre for hotels located near the baggage claim area in each terminal where you can contact your hotel free of charge.
City Shuttle: SuperShuttle vans run 24/7 and depart every 15 minutes from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m from the North and South exits of Terminal 3 and 4 (Level 1) and from the North exit only of Terminal 2. Tickets can be purchased online in advance, or just walk up to the shuttle desk when you get there. There are discounts for round-trips and group bookings so be sure to ask when you book. The average fare per person for a shared van to downtown Phoenix can be as cheap as $15 USD, or you could go more exclusive with a meet-and-greet Executive Car service seating up to 10 people for a total of about $110 USD.
Car Rental: The Rental Car Center is located outside the airport and there is a free shuttle that runs every 5-10 minutes ferrying passengers from the airport to the Center. There are shuttle pick-up zones outside the baggage claim areas of every terminal, where you can catch a bus straight to the 11 car rental companies operating at the Center. These include Alamo, Avis, Hertz, Payless, and Thrifty. As the number of vehicles for on-the-spot rental are limited, it is advisable to book a car in advance.
Limousines: : Airport-to-door limo services are available from Terminals 3 and 4 at the South exit and from the North exit of Terminal 2. The services are provided by companies such as Zion Limousine, AMP Enterprises, All Star Trans, and Black Pearl Limo. Depending on your destination, prices can range between $35-$85 USD for two passengers and up to a distance of 48 km. There is an extra $10 USD fee for each additional passenger.
Additional Services: As an alternative to circling the airport for several minutes while waiting to meet someone, PHX has 'Cell Phone Waiting Lots' with room for 90 vehicles. These lots can be used for up to 30 minutes while drivers are waiting for Phoenix flights to arrive. Located near Terminals 4 and 2, the lots are equipped with airline information display screens and airline telephone numbers. For elderly passengers or those with special needs, the Dial-A-Ride service runs from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., providing wheelchair-accessible vehicles and door-to-door services. Trips must be booked at least one day in advance and fares vary depending on the distance and zones travelled. Shuttles to other Arizona cities are also available and a list of ticket prices, companies, and schedules can be found on the airport website.
Arriving at AZA
Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA) is set for major redevelopment and master plans will be completed by 2020, with improved ground transportation infrastructure playing a major part in its efforts to rival PHX in providing cheap flights to Phoenix. Ground transportation options currently include:
Public Transit: The Valley Metro southbound bus service runs between AZA and Phoenix on Route 184 and a one-way ticket costs about $2 USD. Although this is the cheapest travel option from the airport, trips on public transport can take two hours or more.
Taxis: Taxi services are provided by AAA Yellow Cab and can be found outside the arrivals gates of the airport terminals. Minimum fares to Phoenix destinations are less than $20 USD and there is a $1 USD airport surcharge on all trips from the airport.
Chauffeured Car Service: Chauffeur-driven sedan services are offered by The Driver Provider and the David L Schroeder Group LLC and a limousine service is provided by Magic Limo. All three require advance bookings.
Car Rental: Alamo National , Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Hertz are the three rental car companies that operate at AZA. It is advisable to rent cars well in advance if your flight is arriving here due to the limited number of vehicles at this location.
City Shuttle: Arizona Value Shuttle and SuperShuttle operate private and shared-ride shuttle services to downtown Phoenix, PHX, and other cities in Arizona. The cost of a shared-ride trip from the airport to downtown Phoenix is approximately $50 USD per ticket with an additional $15 USD for direct trips (without stops for additional passengers.) SuperShuttle offers a discounted fare of only $7 USD for each additional passenger travelling in the same group.
Trips between AZA and PHX cost between $30-$70 USD depending on whether you use shared or private transport. No prior reservations are required and the vans depart approximately every 30 minutes.
Hotel Shuttle: Hotels such as Country Inn and Suites by Carlson Mesa, Courtyard by Marriott, and La Quinta Inn and Suites, provide courtesy shuttle services at AZA. However, even these may not be available at all hours so it is advisable to check with your hotel regarding their shuttle arrangements available at the time that your Phoenix flight arrives.